There are a lot of people that like to watch birds. The fact that being outside has so many health advantages can serve as a reminder to engage in some nature therapy. Everyone and anyone should be able to enjoy birdwatching, regardless of physical restrictions or other health difficulties.

This article provides advice for bird watching for disabled people, adaptive birding equipment, and accessible handicap birding spots.

Where to bird watching for disabled: Accessible handicap birding spots

The Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) establishes precise standards for the built environment to enhance accessibility for people with disabilities. Newly built commercial, state and local government facilities must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards, which are legally binding.

Many organizations, for example, RSPB and Birdability, provide access information.  Another excellent resource for information is Birding for All (formerly the Disabled Birders Association), a charity that works to provide accessibility for individuals with disabilities to birding areas, facilities, and services.

Here is the list of accessible handicap birding spots. Access here.

Accessible handicap birding spots. Source: Audubon

Adaptive birding equipment

Wheelchair-mounted Scope

A disabled person utilizes a scope that is mounted on a wheelchair, which frees both hands for steering and maintains the scope at the proper height for viewing.

The scope is mounted using the following parts:

Bird Watching for Disabled. Source: Amazon

Trail chairs

Many people need breaks from activity due to mobility issues, chronic weariness, chronic pain, and other health issues. Since there aren’t always benches available, having a tiny, lightweight trail chair on hand might be useful, especially if you want to hang out in one spot and watch birds from there for a while. There are numerous varieties of chairs and stools; we advise going to your local outdoor retailer and trying out a couple to see which ones are the most comfortable for your body and simplest to handle.

Digiscoping adaptor

There are adaptors that let you use a smartphone to “digiscope”—take pictures with a camera or smartphone through optics—by connecting it to binoculars or a scope. A head or body tremor could not be as problematic if someone with a tremor or dyskinesia (from Parkinson’s disease, for example) could glance at the huge phone screen instead of lining their eyes up precisely with the binocular lenses.

Additionally, a tripod or a monopod may be useful because it stabilizes binoculars and eliminates the challenge posed by trembling hands when holding them. (Since a monopod just has one leg, it is frequently easier to pack or transport when hiking and less work to set it up, but you must constantly support it otherwise.) You may purchase binocular mounts to fasten binoculars to tripods; read more about these below!

Adaptive birding equipment

Binocular harnesses

For virtually every birder out in the field, binocular harnesses are preferable to neck straps. They assist in distributing the weight of the binoculars so that it rests evenly on the back and shoulders rather than the neck. In the long run, this supports our necks and backs and is more pleasant to wear and secure for your binoculars. If you watch birds from a wheelchair and don’t want your binoculars dangling too low, harnesses may be simply adjusted and shorted.

Source: Wide Open Space

Eye cups with wings

Binoculars might be challenging to use for people who are glare sensitive (perhaps due to an eye disease or a sensory sensitivity). Birds can be seen using binoculars considerably more easily if the eye cups have wings to help filter out light that enters through the edges of the eyepieces.

Source: Cloudy Night

Wheelchairs for outdoors

Wheelchairs made specifically for use outside are produced by numerous businesses. They might be fully composed of plastic with extremely broad wheels to use on sand at the beach, or they might have bigger tires for improved traction on gravel and rocky ground. Nature-based groups should think about investing in one or two of these wheelchairs to make available for tourists to borrow (for free!) in order for them to access the breathtaking locations you maintain.

Source: New Mobility

How to choose the right binoculars for birding

Set a budget for the purchase. High-end binoculars provide you with clear vision in a cozy, long-lasting setting. Because of the advancements in technology over the past ten years, lower price ranges also provide some excellent possibilities. 

Decide on a magnification. It’s up to you to choose between 8x and 10x binoculars. Distance birding is generally better done with 10x. However, it also typically entails a smaller field of view, a slightly darker image in dim lighting, and a more obvious handshake. A smaller, wider, brighter image that is simpler to find and follow birds is provided by an 8x.

Test various models. Nobody uses binoculars exactly the same way as a birder. Everything matters, including hand size, face form, attentiveness, and how you carry the trash cans while not in use. Pick up as many pairs as you can to see which ones you like.

Look for accurate, crisp, and vibrant colors. Above all, image quality is crucial. The brightness of the bins. Which colors are most accurate? How well are details in backlit images resolved? Find a place that is dark to compare low-light performance because most optics stores have better lighting than the typical woodland. Please take note that we do not propose any compact-style binoculars with objective lenses smaller than around 30 mm due to poor image quality.

Examine the eye relief. Most binoculars have extendable eyecups that can give shade to individuals who don’t wear glasses or retract to accommodate those who do.   If you wear glasses, ensure sure the eye relief is sufficient and that the eyecups are in their lowest position. The image shouldn’t have any black rings around it.

Review the warranties and other features. Pay attention to the close focus and field of view, two factors that influence how much you’ll see. Consider durability, waterproofing, and warranty as well. Many major optical manufacturers now have outstanding warranties.

Source: iStock

Final Verdict

One of the most well-known wheelchair-friendly hobbies is bird watching, which welcomes all fans of the hobby while concentrating on educating persons with disabilities about birds. We genuinely hope that you found this handy guide useful and that you learnt something new about bird watching for disabled people.

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