The Birdist’s Rules of Birding

“So what’s this all about? Primarily, this column is going to be a guide for nascent birders, the “bird curious” among us, if you will, looking to get deeper into the hobby.”

Whether you're heading to Africa or taking a parrot safari through Brooklyn, preparation is key. Camilla Cerea/Audubon

Birdist Rule #102: Travel Like a Birder

— Birds are everywhere, so always be ready.

Birdist Rule #48: Buy Birders a Gift They’ll Actually Use

— The answer isn’t just “put a bird on it.”
Christmas Bird Count at Green-Wood Cemetery, NYC. Camilla Cerea/Audubon

Birdist Rule #25: Go Join Your Local Audubon Christmas Bird Count

— It's the gift that keeps on giving.
Wild Turkey. Idamini/Alamy

Birdist Rule #80: Decide How You Feel About Eating Birds

— It’s a topic that’s kind of hard to avoid on Thanksgiving.

Birdist Rule #11: Always Bring a Camera

— Then take pictures. Lots of pictures.

Birdist Rule #3: Take a Stand for Birds

— The election is over, but the work is just beginning.
Cooper's Hawk. Jim Burns/Audubon Photography Awards

Birdist Rule #101: Learn About the People Certain Birds Are Named After

— Like this Cooper's Hawk. Know who it was named for? Didn't think so.
"Oh this old thing? I just found it in the back of my closet." Renphoto/iStock

Birdist Rule #31: Dress Up Like a Bird for Halloween

— Not sure which one? Here are some ideas.
Set up your scope on a rock by the sea and wait very patiently for seabirds to show themselves. Camilla Cerea/Audubon

Birdist Rule #13: Behold the Bounty of the Sea!

— Don't worry, you can leave your barf bag at home.

Birdist Rule #23: Identify Your First Song Sparrow

— Once you do, all of those other “little brown jobs” get a little less confusing.