Step by step guides to birdwatching for beginners: Expert advices

Millions of people around the world raise their interest in birdwatching. Whether just wandering in nature or exploring the forests, everyone can enjoy identifying birds by sight and sound. It has become a fun and exciting hobby for people of all ages. If you want to start this hobby, you can gain the “A to Z” guideline of birdwatching for beginners in this article.  

Why birdwatching is a hobby worth trying

Surrounded by colorful, intelligent, vocal, flying birds, everyone may feel delighted and excited to get to know them better. Birdwatching for beginners is a wonderful pastime for many reasons. 

Birding helps you to build a connection with nature 

One of the best representatives of the natural world is birds. On all seven continents, there are about 10,000 species distributed across numerous ecosystems. Birds inspire us to learn about them and the habitats they live in through their sounds, feather patterns, colors, and antics. You’ll start to notice nature more closely if you start birdwatching. 

Spending time and energy finding and observing birds is great for your physical, mental, and emotional health

You get outside, breathe fresh air, and move about while looking for birds. You might even end up hiking to somewhat remote areas or at least walking for miles to find interesting birds. Some of the most rewarding birding experiences are those that you work the hardest for. 

Moreover, you are giving your brain healthy mental stimulation by taking up birdwatching. You need to develop your senses and learn to pay attention to small details. Many species’ names and habitats will stick in your memory over time. All of this keeps your brain’s neurons active and aids in the creation of new synaptic connections. For those of us who are lifelong learners, birding is the ideal activity.

Birdwatching helps you to broaden your friends’ circle

Taking up this hobby will let you in a sociable group, who love talking about birds, about their birding experiences, and about the places they have visited in their pursuit of birds. 

birdwatching for beginners
Why birdwatching is a hobby worth trying. Source: Bird Spot

9 Steps to take up birdwatching for beginners

Find some motivation

Starting your interest in birdwatching is the first step. Watching inspirational documentaries about avian species and the wonders of birding will raise your curiosity and willingness to learn how to bird-watch. It also strengthens your knowledge about avian species and supplies you with the fundamentals to begin a bird-watching journey. 

Also, you can get inspiration from your friends and social circle who have already joined bird watching. Listening to their experiences may excite you to start and participate in bird watching with them.

Install necessary applications

A bird identification app is an essential item for beginners in birdwatching. When you are out and about with the goal of birding, apps are useful for identifying or researching a bird species. There is no alternative for a superb bird-watching field guide when you are specifically birding or want the extra detail that most bird books supply. 

Mobile phone apps can do a variety of tasks, including providing information on bird identification, advice on prime birding locations, simple communication with other birders, and so on. Some applications you can take into consideration for the first time to birdwatch are Merlin Bird ID and eBird,…

Prepare a field guidebook

Even if you already own a digital bird guide, a physical field guidebook is still worth purchasing. With a field guide, you always have access to bird images and range maps of many species, which you can peruse for years without worrying about your smartphone running out of battery. As you get deeper into birdwatching, you will find yourself using multiple books. For North America, we recommend some books listed here:

  • The Sibley Guide to Birds, 2nd Edition, David Sibley
  • Birds of North America: A Guide to Field Identification, Robins, et al
  • Birds of North America, Kenn Kaufman
  • National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Dunn et al
  • American Museum of Natural History Birds of North America, Hess, et al
  • Peterson Bird Field Guide, Roger Peterson

Above are the best birding guides for North American bird watchers.

Choose the right binoculars

Binoculars are the most important piece of birding gear after your own eyes and ears. Binoculars allow you to enjoy a bird’s intricate beauty, which can only be appreciated up close. Binoculars give you the fine details you need for the difficult-to-recognize parts. You must strike a balance when picking a pair of birding binoculars between weight, optical quality, magnification, field of vision, durability, and price. 

Determine your target bird

One of the best ways to inspire beginners in bird watching is to identify a bird that you want to see, and then go out to look for it. 

In order to find your target bird using this scavenger hunt method, you must educate yourself about it. You can utilize hints from its appearance, songs, feeding habits, and nesting behaviors to find it. With the aim of seeing your muse, you practice memorizing these and paying close attention to every bird you see.

When you reach your goal, you’ll feel the sensation of satisfaction that all birders enjoy. When you locate what you are looking for, all of the effort and time spent reading over your target will have been worthwhile.

Make a route and start

Careful and detailed planning, undoubtedly, increases the success of your birding journey. Researching the place you’re visiting and the birds in that area is essential. Take into account their behaviors, habits and the route they often fly. The more you are aware of your targets, the more probable it is that you will see them. 

Some places where you are guaranteed to see birds to consider include wildlife refuges, government parks, state rails, and eBird hotspots.

Start bird watching at the right time

The type of bird you want to view will determine the optimal time to go bird-watching. When you can view them depends a lot on their feeding schedule. For instance, while eagles and falcons must fly in warm air currents, so it’s likely that you’ll see them hunting during noon, nightjars and owls are most active at night. Once again, researching and understanding your muse plays a vital role. 

However, the majority of birders agree that dawn is the most suitable time to see birds. After a good night’s sleep, many more bird species are active now because they are hungry. Fresh air in the morning also helps to identify birds better.

Know the right places to look for birds

Although you may notice birds every time you go outside, a simple understanding of birds will show birdwatching beginners that some locations are preferable to others. You’ll be astounded at how much you’ll see if you know where to look.

Water sources

All life depends on water, including our bird neighbors. Birds hanging out on the water’s edge can be found on any water’s edge. 

Habitat edges

The transition from one type of landscape to another is marked by habitat boundaries.

Sheltered areas

Pay attention to roof eaves, exposed beams, abandoned sheds, and anywhere else that birds could cozy up.

Trees and branches

Birds are most frequently perched on higher branches in areas closest to the root of trees when observing them. The coolest shade provides them with the finest protection. 

Learn how to categorize different groups of birds

Birds have a lot of unique characteristics that distinguish them from the rest. It’s difficult at first, but the more birds you see, the more easily you’ll notice the differences between them. As you gain experience and come into contact with more species, you’ll start to recognize birds in the wild that you may have only ever read about in books. That is a satisfying feeling and a welcome reward that your reading about other species is beginning to pay off!

3 Tips for birdwatching beginners

Connect with local birders

Local birders are the ones who understand most about location and bird habitats. Joining a birding club will help you gain a lot of information about where to birding and which birds to look for. 

Become a morning person

As the saying goes, the early bird catches the worm, which is why many birders head outdoors at dawn. You’ll have to embrace the reality that birds are more loud and active before the sun rises, making them simpler to find and identify during those early hours if you’re intent on seeing a variety of species.

Learn to identify different types of birds with common calls

You can start categorizing by learning common bird calls. It can give you a distinct advantage when searching for what you are looking for, or if you are trying to help someone identify a bird they heard. This can be very useful with territorial birds who will respond to and approach you if you are able to imitate their calls. 


To sum up, birdwatching is such a worthwhile activity to try. This hobby brings us many benefits for both our physical and mental health. We hope that the “step by step” guideline for birdwatching for beginners provided will help you be more ready and confident to start birding today. Let’s enjoy this pastime!