Get Started Birding
Birding is practiced by over 50 million people in the United States according the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Birdwatching is a fascinating and rewarding hobby for people of all ages. Birdwatching is the hobby of observing wild bird species and learning about their behaviours, physical appearance, and sounds. Birdwatching can be done just about anywhere there are birds: backyards, hiking trails, parks, beaches, and even right from the kitchen window! To get started you just need a few items: A pair of binoculars, a good field guide and a notebook or checklist.
Binoculars can greatly enhance the birdwatching experience by allowing birds to be magnified and seen at greater distances. You can pick up a nice pair of binoculars like the Bushnell Natureview 8 X 40 Birding Binocular that can really help bring the bird details up close. The lense quality on these is quite good and are an excellent value for beginning birdwatchers and can be a nice extra pair for more expert birders.
A good field guide is also essential to help you identfiy and learn about birds of California. If you will be going on field trips or bird walks to watch birds, it is a good idea to get a guide that is easy to carry in a pocket. If you watch birds from your backyard as they visit your feeders or birdbath, a larger guide will be fine. Some good field guides are the Birds of California Field Guide by Stan Tekiela and the National Audubon Society Field Guide to California.
Notebooks and checklists are handy for recording your observation notes. Recording notes helps you to identify the locations, habitats, behaviours and other interesting facts. Depending on season and weather, it might be a good idea to consider a "Rite in the Rain" all weather notebook with all weather paper that resists water.
Proper clothing choices for birding can help make the experience more comfortable and rewarding. You should choose comfortable non-restrictive clothing that will allow you to move comfortably and freely. Lightweight fabrics are preferred, and depending upon the weather, it may help to dress in layers to allow you adapt to changing temperatures during the day. Natural earth colored clothes and organic clothing can be good choices for comfort and blending into the environment.