Bird Watching

An Activity for All

You have probably watched birds at some point in your life, whether intentionally or simply while looking in your backyard, visiting a park or a  national wildlife refuge, or hiking on a trail. A soaring Bald Eagle, an Acorn Woodpecker tapping on a dead snag, a Gadwall landing on a pond, a singing Wood Thrush - all of these conjure up strong images in our minds.

Over  46 million Americans count ourselves as bird watchers, or "birders." Being a bird enthusiast takes many forms. You may simply notice the birds you see on evening walks or keep a backyard feeder filled with tasty enticements. Perhaps you own a bird guide (or two or three), always have your binoculars within easy reach, or plan your vacations around spring warbler migration.

Maybe you have a "life list" and know exactly how many birds are left to complete it. Or maybe you don't even keep track of what you see. Regardless of how we engage with birds and bird watching, many of us are thrilled daily to see our feathered friends.

Birding can be a solitary or group activity. It doesn't take much to get started bird watching except a desire to see birds. Start by observing birds around you. Tools such as binoculars can help you bring birds into focus. Learning to look for and compare specific traits - including colors, patterns and sounds - will help you identify different species. By visiting different habitats during different seasons you can learn which species will come to specific areas at certain times.

Bird watchers, make your voice count! Support habitat conservation for birds and other wildlife by  purchasing Federal Duck Stamps through the American Birding Association.

Whether you are just discovering the joys of bird watching or you are an experienced birder, we hope to provide you with some helpful resources. Young birders will also find information and activities developed especially for them.

Last Updated: June 19, 2018