The Esstential Backyard Birders Tool Kit
1. Attracting Birds to your backyard
How do you begin?
An easy way to start out attracting birds is to put up a bird feeder. Food is a powerful incentive to any living thing and birds are no exception to that. Having and maintaining Bird Feeders is the first and foremost tool to get our feathered friends to spend some time with you. Keeping them well stocked and understanding what types of food will attract what type of bird is essential for success. We’ll be covering types of food and species in a later post so stay tuned for more.
Some birds, especially woodpeckers and chickadees, excavate cavities in tree trunks for nesting and roosting. Many other species, such as wrens, bluebirds, and some ducks and owls, nest in cavities that other birds have made. Nest boxes offer these birds a place to raise their young, especially where natural cavities are at a premium. Our nest box section describes the features of a good nest box, where to place it, and how to avoid predators. Again, knowing what essential nesting requirements by species will take the guessing out of selecting a good bird house or nesting box.
2. Water and Bird Baths
A source of clean water, for drinking and bathing, may attract birds that don’t visit feeders. We can help ensure that your water helps birds, not mosquitoes or algae. And we’ve got ideas for other great attractants, too, such as building a brush pile.
3. How to spot them
How to choose binoculars
- Look for a right eyepiece that focuses to adjust for individual eye differences, plus central focusing to adjust for various distances.
- Most popular magnification strength among experienced birders is either 7 x 35 or 8 x 40. Those larger than 10 x 50 tend to be overly bulky and difficult to hold steadily.
- Depending mainly on lens quality, binoculars for birding can range in price from $50 to more than $1,000.
4. Field Guides
- Our online field guide is a good place to start identifying birds you see in in you area. We also recommend getting a couple of good print field guides. The three listed below are illustrated in color, show range maps for all species, and contain a birder’s checklist in the back. They are standards in the field and are available at most bookstores.
5. Bird song recordings
Learning bird songs will quickly expand your ability to distinguish one species from another. It frequently is the only way to identify species that remain hidden. Song differences are also the best way to identify certain look-alike species, such as alder and willow flycatchers. You can purchase recordings of bird songs or borrow them from your public library. Recordings should rarely be used to attract birds, because nesting birds can be threatened by invaders in their territories.
There are so many different tools out there and so many different ways of using them that we would love to hear from you. Join the discussion on our Facebook page. We would love to hear from you.