What is Birding: A Guide for Beginners6.16.2023
What is Birding?
From the “outside your window” morning melodies to the expansive range of bright colors that fill the trees, birds offer the world consistent, relaxing company while we go about our day-to-day lives. And, while some people tend to forget they’re even around, there are a larger group of people who are fascinated by the wind-swept creatures, learning their names, colors, origins, and flight patterns.
These people are called “Birders”.
Though the name might not be as popular as “bird watcher”, it actually encompassed a lot more skill, practice, and strategy than simply watching birds. So, if you’re ready to learn how to start birding for yourself, keep reading. We’re breaking down how to start birding and the best locations for your next birding adventure!
Birding vs. Birdwatching: What’s the Difference?
Let’s start by comparing the two main words for the hobby: birding and bird watching.
Bird watching is a simpler, more observatory activity that is more casual and can take place at any location. If you’re hanging out in a park or sitting in your own front lawn watching a bird, technically, you’re bird watching.
Birding is a bit different and more strategic. Birders are bird experts and love to explore, searching out different species of birds, learning their movements, understanding their habits, and even searching specific areas for unique birds.
Birding is an all-encompassing activity that people dedicate their lives to, purchasing specific gear and equipment, reading dedicated books, and even entering into competitions.
How to Start Birding
If birding sounds like your kind of activity, then follow along, because we have the four easy steps you need to take to become a birding expert yourself. For our existing birding experts, we recommend taking a deeper look at the hobby from One Feather Editor Robert Jumper and his commentary, The pecking order.
Get the Right Gear
First, having the correct and appropriate birding gear is a must. You’ll want something that’s comfortable, breathable, and not flashy – as in no neon or super bright colors. It’s also important to bring binoculars, birding encyclopedias or identification books, your phone, water, and a camera for capturing any new or unique birds you find along the way.
Find the Right Time of Day
Each bird species will have a specific time of day that they’re active, which means you’ll have to do a little bit of research beforehand in order to spot the bird you’re looking for. So, once you’ve got the right gear, choose a time of day where your bird will be most active and fun to watch!
Pick a Great Location
As with time of day, picking a location will ultimately come down to the type of bird you’re looking to scope out. For example, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there are approximately 240 different types of birds, with 60 varying species existing all year.
Finally, it’s important to remember that birding will require patience. Birds can be fickle and it may take a few weeks to fully understand their routines. So, go into this new, exciting hobby with a sense of adventure and know that some days will definitely be better than others.
Start Your Birding Adventure in Cherokee, North Carolina
Ready to start birding? There’s no better place than Cherokee, North Carolina! From the historic attractions to the beautiful, vast nature, Cherokee is full of birds like the Wood Thrush, Louisiana Water Thrush, the Hooded Warbler, the Spotted Sandpipe, Indigo Bunting, and more!
Plan your trip today and start your adventure now!