Bird Watching Tips

Categories // Birds

Bald EagleBird Watching Tips

Birds are everywhere! From the beach to the mountains, you’ll find birds of all stripes and sizes to look at. You probably know a number of birds by name already—crows, robins, seagulls, eagles, and blue jays. Why not spend a little time on your next camping trip getting to know a few new ones?

Use Your Senses
When you go bird watching, be sure to use your sense of hearing as well as your sense of sight. Look for birds up high and down low. Some birds spend their time hopping on the ground, picking up seeds and insects. Other birds sit in trees or on bushes. And some birds are easiest to see when they’re flying in the sky. Use your ears to follow bird sounds like chirping, singing, fluttering, and rustling.

Think Like a Bird
Every type of bird settles in a place that has the kind of food it likes to eat. For instance, large birds like eagles and hawks live in mountain areas and on grasslands, where the hunting is good. Songbirds that eat insects live on prairies and marshes. Seabirds, which eat fish and sea creatures, live at the beach and out in the ocean. If you’re ever wondering what kinds of bird you’ll see on your hike or boat trip, just think about what kinds of food would be available. That will give you a good picture of what birds to look for.

Bird Books
Once you find a bird, it’s fun to look it up in a bird identification book. Before you open your book, make a mental note of the bird’s size and color. Think about where you saw it. Bird books are organized by bird type, with all the ducks in one section, the owls in another, and so on. Flip through, looking at the pictures, and find the one that looks most like your bird. Bird books also have maps that show where different birds generally live. Before you decide for sure which bird you’ve seen, check the maps to make sure it lives in your part of the country.

Keep a List
For extra fun, keep a list of all the birds you spot on your trip. If you take enough camping trips to different places, you can have a separate list for each one, and this will give you a good idea of what birds live in what areas. You might see egrets and flamingoes in Florida, for instance, cardinals in Pennsylvania, and bald eagles in Alaska and on the west coast.

Birding is a lot of fun. Our feathery friends are everywhere—you’ll see them if you just take the time to look!

Challenge: Find all the birds on the birding checklist