Bird watching (birdwatching) or also known as birding is the observation and study of birds with the naked eye or with the use of binoculars. Birding also includes the auditory component, since birds can be easily and readily detected using the ear than the eye. Most people follow birdwatching as hobby.
Birdwatching can be traced back as early as the Victorian Era in Britain when the study of birds and natural history became fashionable. Collectors would collect eggs, skins and feathers from different colonies. But in the 1800s there was popular call for the protection of birds, this led to the observation on living birds.
Meanwhile in the United States, as early as 1889 there is already a field guide written by Florence Bailey entitled Birds Through an Opera Glass. In the early and mid-20th century, the focus of bird watching in the United States was in the eastern seaboard region.
Currently, not only are there local birdwatching guides, there are already global guides. The availability of air travel enable hobbyist and serious birdwatchers to travel different places and observe wild birds in their natural habitat. Birding can also be done in your own backyard or the local park.
Birding also includes taking precise note of the minute details that distinguish one specie from the others, and mastering the skills of identifying characteristics for documentation as well as contribution to the body of knowledge regarding winged creatures. This means sitting for hours, frequently crouched and hidden in true bird watcher stance.
Birdwatching is the fastest growing outdoor activity in America. According to a survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 51.3 million Americans report that they watch birds. While in Europe it is considered to be a preoccupation. And more are taking it up all the time.
So, why more and more people are taking interest in this activity?
Historically, birds are considered bringers of omens. Ancient Romans believed that the flights and call of birds could foretell the future. Nowadays, modern science still uses birds as future tellers. Changes is bird populations reflect the health of the environment.
But most people start birding for simple reasons. Like having fun or creating a connection with the wonders of nature. Birding is also beneficial for your health. The biggest reason for health problems of people nowadays is inactivity. Birdwatching limits your inactive time in front of the television or computer. Birdwatching gets you outside and walking.
Birdwatching is also a great family activity. It unites people across generations. By taking up this activity, you get to be united with your parents, grandparents and children. Some people also go birdwatching for social reasons. Nearly every community has a birding club.
Birdwatching is also a relaxing a settling sport. Your mind settles down when you are with a bird. The senses open up, you may even take pleasure in going out alone.
For starting birdwatchers or those who are interested, there are local bird clubs or magazines devoted to birdwatching that can help you started. Getting a bird book or a field guide will also help you learn more about birdwatching. A field guide is a little book with different bird information.
Birdwatching basics are also available in DVDs or videos but getting outside and looking at the birds will be much better.