Tech that helped me fall back in love with birdwatching

Nikon binoculars

I did not have a set of binoculars once I was a child; no surprise I used to be so dangerous at . You’re going to want a pair, as most birds have this pesky behavior of dwelling in tall bushes. In most conditions a 8x42mm or 10x42mm set like these from Carson will do properly, since you are going to principally be close by bushes. If you are into shorebirds you may want one thing a bit extra highly effective that can see throughout lakes. You can get pairs for underneath $100 however many well-known optics manufacturers just like the Nikon normally run north of that.

To get probably the most out of your binoculars be sure to maintain them clear (lens wipes are a fantastic assist) and be sure you alter them correctly earlier than you allow the home lest you find yourself lacking some good sightings. Pull out the eyecups and fold the pair till it suits the width between your eyes; it is simpler to begin with one eye closed and get it in focus, then make additional changes when you might have each eyes open. Jason Ward of YouTube present The Birds of North America can clarify it to you higher than I can:

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Electronic Insect Repellent


You can all the time lean on that trusty can of OFF! however it’s a ache to should reapply and may conflict with your sunblock. A Thermacell is a handheld system (or a wearable one, although it is a bit of huge) that heats a pad containing a scentless chemical repellent — you do not apply something to your pores and skin and it could shield a bigger space round you. That’s nice once you’re touring with companions, since it could shield a couple of person. However, it is much less efficient on windy days, and will not assist when your folks maintain wandering away from you to have a look at random deer. You may attempt an audio-based repellent, however I’ve discovered them to be much more hit-and-miss than chemical strategies.

Buy Thermacell MR300 on Amazon – $20

Portable battery

Mophie Powerstation

So you are going to be utilizing your telephone lots — not only for apps, however for the GPS in your telephone lest you get misplaced. And chances are high, if it is a sunny day, you will have to run the display screen at full brightness. While my Pixel three has by no means run out of battery on a hike, your telephone is likely to be rather less long-lasting, and packing a conveyable battery like the need guarantee you do not miss out on logging a sighting. Mophie’s Powerstation line is especially good, as its batteries aren’t too cumbersome however nonetheless supply loads of connection choices for contemporary telephones.

Audibon Bird Guide


Audibon launched its free devoted app on Android and iOS final yr, and it is the most likely one of the best ways for novices to get into figuring out and logging the birds they see on the path. The “Bird ID” function allows you to search birds by numerous standards, like coloration, measurement, habitat and habits. Then you may test in… er, I imply log your sighting of that species, including location and amount. The app retains observe of what number of species you’ve got seen, so it could really feel a bit like filling out a real-life Pokédex.

Merlin Bird ID / eBird

Merlin bird ID

Once you’ve got acquired the fundamentals down and may inform your sparrows, towhees and juncos aside, you is likely to be able to step as much as some severe hen monitoring. Cornell University’s ornithology division put out two apps to assist birders establish and log wild birds. It did not launch these apps out of pure altruism, although: The scientists at Cornell use the information submitted by customers to trace avian populations the world over. So you will be contributing to a better trigger. But informal birdwatchers would possibly discover it a bit a lot, because the identification and logging choices are cut up between the 2 apps, and eBird assumes you already know what you wish to enter. But in the event you’re searching for a severe group of birders, that is the place to go.


Cairn app

The extra you stroll by parks and forests you’ll ultimately notice that Google Maps may be very, very dangerous at outside areas, so you are going to want a backup. We’re notably keen on Cairn, which has extra trails marked than Google, but in addition lets you realize the place you may anticipate finding cell protection — and also will notify your family members the place you are going simply in case one thing goes mistaken. It’s additionally value noting that the most recent Apple Watch now has a built-in compass, so you may maintain observe of your instructions in a (barely) extra old school manner.

Where to go

Now that you are all packed and have downloaded all of the apps you want, it is time to head out and begin searching for birds. Fall migration is without doubt one of the greatest instances to search for birds, as our feathered pals will likely be headed south from September to November. Both eBird and the Audibon app checklist “hotspots” close to you, whereas eBird’s app will checklist all of the sightings of a specific species. And try the location in your native Audibon society, as they will supply loads of suggestions in your specific area. (For instance, the NYC Audibon website lists all of the parks you may go to and when you may count on probably the most sightings.)

Water bottle

Water bottle

Look, you are open air and also you’re strolling round lots. You’re gonna want water. As you are prone to be in locations that do not have rubbish cans scattered round, a reusable bottle is your greatest guess. We’re notably keen on the Hydroflask or a widemouth Nalgene.

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