Did you know many experienced bird watchers have a visit to Florida on their bucket list?
The reason is simple: the Sunshine State is one of the best places for birding in the world. When it comes to outdoor recreation in Florida, birding is second only to the numerous beach-related activities.
Why is that? For starters, Florida is a big place with varied wetlands, grasslands, pine forests, and the coastline all add to the state’s avian diversity.
Though bird watching is not for everyone, it’s a great way to become one with nature.
Here are five tips that any aspiring birder should know.
1. Bring Binoculars
Binoculars are a vital tool in any bird watcher’s arsenal. After all, your enjoyment of birds largely depends on how good they look from up close. With the right binoculars, you’d be getting a big, crisp picture.
Don’t have your own set of binoculars? The good news is that you can get it at a surprisingly low price. For instance, the Nikon Monarchs are a great model for beginner bird watchers.
2. Consider a Spotting Scope
While we’re on the subject of recommended gear, a spotting scope is worth a look. Binoculars are a versatile tool, but they won’t help you spot a golden eagle nested a quarter-mile away.
For the best birding experience, look for a scope with a 20x-60x zoom range. Spotting scopes are generally more expensive than binoculars, but they’ve also been dropping in price lately.
3. Practice the Four-Step Approach
Once you’ve geared up, it’s time to start thinking about your skills.
The first step towards becoming an expert birder is learning how to identify the species of the bird you’re watching. We recommend the traditional four-step approach.
First, judge the bird’s shape and size and discern its main color pattern. While you’re doing this, remember to take notes of its behavior. Finally, factor in which habitat the bird is currently in.
4. Use the Right Apps
Sure, birding is mostly about enjoying nature. That doesn’t mean you should disregard the modern tools at our disposal. Some apps can significantly enhance your bird watching experience.
For example, field guides are a lot of help in bird identification. These days, most field guides are available as apps. And if you’re struggling with navigation, an app called Birdseye gives you directions to any birds near you.
5. Connect with Other Bird Watchers
For many of us, birding is a relaxing, solitary hobby. One great thing about this activity, however, is that it can also be a social endeavor. Plus, the best way to familiarize yourself with bird watching is to learn from other people.
So, what’s the first step? Simply join a listserv for your area, and sign up for a bird watch weekend. In Florida, there’s a big chance one of those is happening near you very soon!
More Things to Do in Florida
As we may have mentioned, the Sunshine State is filled with fun stuff to do. Hanging out with your fellow bird watchers is great, but sometimes you may feel like switching it up a bit.
If that’s the case with you, we may be able to help you out. Here’s a list of activities you should try while you’re here.
Naples Beach Adventures
11135 GulfShore Drive
Naples, FL 34108
Parking Lot #4