How to Start Birding
If you’ve been considering joining the ranks of the 47 million birders in the United States, there's no better time than the present to take the plunge—or at least dip your toes in. But wait. Where should you go? How do you even find a bird? Which bins should you choose? If you're a novice, this handy primer will give you the tools you need to venture into the field with confidence. (First tip: Always casually refer to binoculars as "bins.")
Hit the field.
Finding birds is much easier said than done. Scoping them out requires a bit of skill, and once you’ve got your eyes on the prize, you’ll want to figure out what exactly it is that you’re gawking at. Here's how you do it.
Know where to go.
You don’t have to stray far from home to go birding: Any green space or open water source will do. Use virtual maps to pinpoint good spots and plan your itinerary right from home. These are the types of places you can check out around you.
Every hobby has its essential gear, and birding is no exception. All you need to get started on backyard birding is a field guide, a weather-proof notebook, and an easy-to-use birding app. If you want to take it to the next level, binoculars are a very useful tool. Here are our picks.
Or you can build your own kit, with a little help from these starter guides.
Join the club.
Ready to see who else is out there? Meetups, chapters, online communities—there are plenty of ways to tune in and meet other birders. Read on for ideas on how you can make those connections.
Find Your Muse
Scroll through our online bird guide (available in English and Spanish) to get a glimpse of some eye-popping species. (They’ll look even better in real life.)