Bird watching as a low-key but pleasant pass-time, in recent years, has rapidly developed into a household activity with worldwide popularity among all social groups, especially in retirees and independent-living seniors. Watching birds is truly a thrilling activity for all, but little do we notice that we humans do owe these feathered friends some respect.
Birds are sincerely magnificent creatures, not only for their undeniable beauty but for their roles in the entire ecosystem to help maintain the environment. They may seem adorable and vulnerable in appearance, but their importance to our planet can never be overshadowed and underestimated. They are pollinators in plant reproduction, controllers in insect populations, and scavengers in maintaining the pureness of nature. We oftentimes turn a blind eye to the contributions they make for our planet, but still their accomplishments cannot be undermined.
How does bird watching benefit us?
In fact, birds not only play an important role in maintaining the balance of nature, they also bring us considerable benefits in various aspects. Physically speaking, bird watching can boost the overall well-being of our bodies, for regular outdoor activities like spotting birds can dramatically lower the chances of cardiovascular diseases, boost the immune system and improve bone density with enough Vitamin D absorption. And it has therapeutic effects like relieving chronic pains, improving sleep hygiene and boosting mental stimulation.
Moreover, taking up bird watching is a perfect way to relieve negative feelings like stress and loneliness, manage emotions and boost self-esteem in the transition to retirement. Watching those majestic creatures helps develop a greater sense of respect and responsibility for nature, wildlife and the environment, and gives us a real sense of achievement when we successfully identify new birds or discover new species. Bird watching is a mindful activity that helps us improve concentration, cultivate temperament and foster our connections with nature.
In social terms, bird watching provides us with good opportunities to connect with the outside world and reduce the feeling of isolation. Since the barrier to entry for bird watching is quite low, so we can join different clubs or social groups to build life-long friendships. Besides, we can mingle with people from different backgrounds with distinct personalities so as to break down barriers among strangers and eliminate discrimination and prejudice. Another appeal of bird watching lies in its magical power to enhance the relationship within a family. It’s a perfect family activity that seniors and children could all participate in to make wonderful memories. It’s also a low-cost day out where children can learn about the migratory patterns and behavioral habits of birds and develop a sense of responsibility for the environment.
How can we do bird watching?
Bird watching is an accessible activity, whose greatest appeal mainly lies in its adaptability to a variety of situations. There are multiple ways to watch birds despite one’s physical state, daily schedule or financial condition. Everyone can find an appropriate way that suits his/her special needs to cherish these marvelous creatures without the restrictions of time and place.
1. Watching birds in natural habitats
Traditionally, experienced bird watchers are more willing to travel long-distance deep into the forests where they can have access to the most authentic and direct pleasure of bird watching while bathing in the forest. In the wilderness, they stand a higher chance to discover more species and have closer contact with those feathered creatures. Outdoor bird watching is a low-cost and even cost-free activity. Birdwatchers could simply carry out this activity with their naked eyes and ears. To take a closer look at those adorable birds, all they need is a pair of binoculars or a camera (remember to turn off the flashlight), with which they have a better watching experience without imposing extra stress on those sensitive fellas. And it is always advisable to get a bird guide to keep updated with the basic knowledge of their living behaviors and the skills to approach these birds in a more effective and friendlier way.
2. Watching birds in the neighborhood
For people who are caught in the hustle and bustle of the city lives and have no time traveling long-distance to rural areas only to catch a glimpse of those fast-paced creatures, they can also enjoy bird watching directly in their neighborhoods. Grab some bread crumbs or bird seeds and head to the nearest park from home. Then they can have some leisure time chilling on the bench while feeding those adorable pigeons and ducks. Or take a stroll in the park on a Saturday morning. Then they can get blessed with the beautiful symphony composed by those talented musicians while sharing some intimate time chitchatting with their loved ones. Since a growing number of birds become more accustomed to taking shelters in cities, people can also have easy access to admire those beautiful creatures while taking a regular walk or on their way to work/school to lift their spirits up.
3. Backyard bird watching
Bird watching is an accessible activity to all ages regardless of their medical conditions. People of any mobility level can get easily engaged in bird watching in various manners. Those who only suffer mild mobility issues can get involved by admiring their little guests in the backyard. By installing a birdhouse, those feathered creatures will simultaneously visit their backyards and chances are higher that they may pay an annual visit to their backyards in breeding or migration season or even make a permanent settlement there. In this way, people can watch birds directly in their house without the long trudge. And bird watchers could even install a waterproof mini-camera inside the birdhouse to explore the hidden world of the bird kingdom and gain a better picture of their nesting behaviors and living habits. The advent of the bird box camera also makes it possible for people to watch birds remotely on smartphones or tablets with supreme visual and acoustic pleasure. Don’t know how to pick a bird box camera? Please continue to read Functions Required in an Effective Bird Box Camera System to find out the best bird box camera that suits your need.
4. Setting up a feeder or birdbath with a hidden camera
People could also enjoy bird watching by placing a feeder or birdbath in the garden. They can simply create an indoor environment for bird watching by rearranging the furniture to ensure they have a clear and unobstructed view and hanging a bird feeder filled with tasty enticements outside the window to attract any peckish passers-by. By this means, even those who are permanently bed-ridden or wheel-bound can enjoy the pleasure of admiring birds when lying on the bed. What’s more, a birdbath can also be placed to attract more feathered visitors to their backyard. A waterproof wildlife camera can also be installed near the feeders or birdbaths to offer a better watching experience with high-definition close-up shots.
What should we pay attention to during bird watching?
Above all, any activities of bird watching should be conducted in an ethical and legal manner. It’s legally bound that any ill-intention to disturb the nesting sites would be considered a violation of the regulation. And it has been well documented in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 that bird harassment in any manner is prohibited and deserves severe punishment. And any hazardous behaviors that will cause irreparable consequences like premature fledglings, abandoned nestlings or breeding failures should be curbed immediately. All in all, during bird watching, we need to keep the disturbance to the minimum and always keep in mind that the welfare of the birds always comes first.
In outdoor bird watching, especially when we spot birds on others’ private properties, we need to gain permission from the landowners first before we take further action. When we enter a private territory, we need to act very carefully not to cause any physical or financial damages to the landowners. In cases when we watch birds in a natural habitat, we need to make sure that our activities won’t impose any harm on the local ecosystem or jeopardize the welfare of other wild creatures. Moreover, when we do bird watching in large-scale collective activities with other birdwatchers, it is totally advisable not to interfere with others’ activities or do anything that will spoil their pleasure like scaring away the birds by accident.
Tips for better bird watching
Be patient and quiet——Bird watching takes patience and time. Waiting is an unavoidable process, but it’ll pay off when those pretty creatures eventually come out. Birds can be easily startled by loud noises, so keep the volume down when stalking around.
Avoid sudden, jerky movements——Birds are extremely sensitive creatures, so any sudden or jerky movements will scare them away. Slow down, mind the steps and walk on tiptoes when drawing nearer to the birds.
Gear up head-to-toe——Avoid any bright-colored clothing and always go for darker shades. Choose comfortable clothing (lightweight and waterproof fabric) and dress in layers to secure long-time outdoor wandering and adapt to sudden temperature changes.
Various times for bird watching ——The majority of birds are most active and vibrant in the morning, so chances of spotting different species of birds are higher during this period. But to watch some particular nocturnal creatures like owls and nighthawks, it is better to go at night.