Recommended Bird Watching Equipment, Gear and Resources
Table of Contents:
Bird Watching Equipment:
Bird Watching Resources
Bird Watching Gear and Tools
Please share your favorite birding resources or bird watching equipment in the comments section below!
Bird Watching Equipment
Below is a list of my favorite birding gear along with the product I am currently using.
I am pleased with this purchase! The field of view is terrific, especially compared to my old binoculars. The colors are exceptionally bright, and I am impressed with the image quality.
- Binocular Harness: I find that the strap included with most binoculars can get uncomfortable while hanging from your neck. Try finding a binocular harness that fits your optic. Highly recommended!
The 8 Best Bird Watching Binoculars of 2018: Lists optics from all price ranges ($125 – $2,600). It includes a very helpful binocular comparison chart.
The 11 Best Spotting Scopes for Bird Watching: I don’t take my spotting scope on every trip, but they are an excellent birding tool and highly recommended for any serious birder.
Camera: Canon Rebel T5i
Any of the Rebel cameras made by Canon are great for beginner and amateur photographers. They are relatively inexpensive and have the ability to take great photographs.
- Related Article: The 7 Best Cameras for Wildlife Photography
Smart Phone: iPhone 6s
Almost everything I need for watching birds can be found on this little computer in my pocket. Seriously, it’s one of the best bird watching tools and resources available.
- Amazing Birding Apps: See below for complete list.
- Internet: If one of my apps can’t solve my problem, a quick click to the internet can save the day, including checking the weather!
- Camera and Video: If my Canon isn’t available, I just use my cell phone. I can’t get over how amazing the cameras have become in smartphones!
- Below is a recent panorama from the top of Mt. Princeton in Colorado.
My Favorite Bird Watching Resources
Amazing tools for birding! Here are my two favorites.
A fun way to learn bird sounds and calls. Only available on iTunes.
Are you seriously still listening to the radio??? Trust me, once you find a few entertaining and educational podcasts it is hard ever to go back. They are one of my favorite bird watching resources.
Out There With the Birds – Hosted by Bill Thompson III and Ben Lizdas
Bill and Ben (both from Bird Watchers Digest) discuss the latest in birding trends and news and provide their expert opinions and thoughts.
Talkin’ Birds – Hosted by Ray Brown
Expect a half an hour show once per week. Each show is very well put together with different segments. This sounds more like a standard radio show (which it is in specific areas) but is packed full of information and entertainment.
Related Article: See my complete list of Bird Podcasts below
Reading books is one of my favorite ways to learn more about birds and birding.
There are too many to list on this page alone. Please check out:
But here are two of my favorites:
To See Every Bird On Earth by Dan Koeppel
I originally checked it out from the library as an audiobook and subsequently listened to it three times. It does a nice job of introducing some of the oddities of the birding subculture and also illustrates how bird watching can turn into an obsession at the expense of your family.Purchase Now
The Big Year by Mark Obmascik
This book was turned into a movie a few years ago. It’s a great way to get introduced to the crazy annual competition of who can see the most birds in a year. Trust me; it will get you thinking how you can accomplish your big year.Purchase Now
The following sites are some of the best bird watching resources on Planet Earth.
They are a unique blend of citizen science, birding resources, and education. It’s hard to describe “The Lab” in a few short sentences. Just trust me and check them out.
With local chapters all across the United States, Audubon is leading the charge to conserve and restore natural ecosystems by focusing on birds and wildlife. They provide almost daily articles ranging across all topics. From politics to the fine details of bird identification.
The ABA provides leadership to birders by increasing their knowledge, skills, and enjoyment of birding. They are the only organization in North America that specifically caters to recreational birders and contribute to bird and bird habitat conservation through their varied programs.
There are only a few blogs that I consistently read. See below for a list of the best blogs from around the United States and World.
These are the magazines that I am currently subscribed:
I rarely use paper field guides!
Add it to the list of things that millennials are destroying! 🙂
As a casual and amateur birder, I rely on the electronic field guide apps downloaded on my phone. If that doesn’t work, then I may consult one of my field guides at home, but probably will just use “Google.”
For a list of recommended Field Guide Apps, please read:
Tips and Tricks
There’s too many to list here. Read one of my favorite articles:
Bird Watching Gear and Tools
My Back Pack:
Here are the birding equipment and other stuff that is currently in my bag.
External Battery for electronics – Anker Powercore 10000: Some portable battery is a must! This has saved me many times, especially when my phone sucks up battery like a sponge.
- MagicFiber Microfiber Cleaning Cloths: For the longest time, every time my binocular or camera lens got dirty, I never had the correct microfiber cleaning cloth available. I finally solved that problem with a simple purchase. Now I keep a few in my backpack, in my car, in my drawer…
Waterproof Notebook / Pen: I have always carried a notebook. You never know when inspiration hits or you think of something that you want to remember. Having a durable, waterproof notebook has been a GREAT purchase.
- Water Bottle: I have tried other water bottles but always seem to come back to a Nalgene.
- Headlamp: Just in case my birding trip takes longer than expected.
- Bug Spray
Clothes, Shoes and Accessories
First, when I prepare for a full day of birding, I try to remember two things:
- It’s not fun being wet.
- It’s not fun being cold. (or incredibly hot!)
Then I try to bring clothing and other birding gear that satisfies these thoughts.
Second, I know some people love shopping, but I am not that person.
I am always drawn to the cheapest garment that I can get away wearing.
Unfortunately, I have learned a valuable lesson:
Cheap Price = Cheap Quality
For example, a cheap “waterproof” hiking boot may only be waterproof for 24 hours!
It’s worth it to pay a little extra for quality shoes and clothing. It will not only last longer but won’t disappoint out in the field.
Here is a list of bird watching gear that’s a useful checklist not only birders but anyone that spends a lot of time outside.
- Waterproof Hiking Boots and Shoes:
- Hiking Socks:
- Make sure the material is not cotton!
- I have lighter, thinner pairs for summer. Thicker, warmer pairs for winter.
- Hiking Pants:
- I prefer the type the convertible pants that can turn into shorts. My wife makes fun of me for not being stylish, but nothing is more convenient!
- Compression Pants and Shirts:
- Breathable hiking shirts:
- As Under Armour famously put in our heads – “Cotton is the enemy.” I couldn’t agree more, whether it’s hot or cold weather.
- Avoid bright colors. It tends to scare birds away!
- Winter jacket: Make sure it’s one that lets you move!
- Light jacket on brisk mornings.
- Gloves: I have a few different pairs depending one temperature. I prefer gloves that can be used with my Smartphone.
- Hats: Both for winter and summer
- Yaktrax to walk on snow. These slip right over your shoes! Amazing product.
What is your favorite birding equipment, gear or resources?
I would like to keep this list growing and need your help!
What is the stuff you won’t go bird watching without? Any cool gadgets or hacks that no one else seems to know about?