A telescope or scope for short is what some people use when they go bird watching. Some people prefer to use this over the binoculars because according to them, the optics is much better.
There are two scopes to choose from for you bird watchers. The first is the straight scope which is very similar to what hunters have on their rifles because the eyepiece and the body of the scope are on the same axis. The second is the angled scope with the eyepiece angled to 45 degrees from the scope body which allows the user to look down instead of up or wherever the bird is.
When you are buying straight or angled scope, there are some similarities and differences. When buying a straight scope, be sure that it is relatively unobtrusive so you will be able to shift focus easily should the bird suddenly fly off making it easy for you to track where it goes.
If you are also a bird watcher and a hunter at the same time, pick one that has other features such as illumination and markings as this will tell you bullet drop and wind direction. You should also check if the scope you are purchasing has detachable rings. This will allow you to easily change scopes if the conditions change.
For the angled scope, weight is still a factor especially when you are carrying it until you find an ideal spot to go bird watching. Once you set it and mount it on a tripod, you can turn it in any direction without even looking into the lens to find a bird.
Regardless of what kind of scope you are planning to buy, the best place to get this is from a local gun shop or sporting goods store. If the items are a bit pricey, remember the model number and the brand of the one you like and try to find the same item online.
The ideal scope to get should be 9×36 which means that you can see nine times beyond the normal range and the diameter or field of view is about 36mm. The new ones in the market have magnifications ranging between 20x and 60x in normal daylight conditions with an objective lens diameter of about 50 to 80 mm but getting one between 20x and 30x is just about right.
When shopping for the lens, don’t forget to check if this is waterproof. This will allow you to use it when it rains or even under harsher conditions.
To give you an idea of what brands that sell scopes, high end ones are sold by Leica, Swarovski and Zeiss. Mid range ones are sold by Kowa, Nikon and Pentax. The lower end brand which is still quite useful for those who enjoy bird watching is Bushnell.
Proper care must be given to your scope. It has to be stored and cleaned properly each time it is brought out and stored so you are sure that it is good as new just like the day you brought it home from the sporting goods store.
You can’t go bird watching without either a scope or a pair of binoculars. You can use whichever you are most comfortable with because that is all that matters when you are outdoors.