photo of white and brown owl perched on a tree branch

Top 5 Reasons NOT To Start Bird Watching (And Why!)

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Let’s be honest, bird watching isn’t for the faint-hearted and definitely not for EVERYONE. Many have chosen to start bird watching and have given up on it along the way due to a few reasons. I gathered some feedback from other birders and through my own experience, and here are 5 reasons NOT to start bird watching:

5 Reasons You Should NOT Start Bird Watching:

  1. You Don’t Like Animals (Especially Birds)
  2. You Don’t Like The Outdoors
  3. You Become Impatient Easily
  4. You Don’t Like A Wonderful Birding Community
  5. You Expect To Become A Bird Identification Expert Instantly

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Now there are some details as to why I think that these are reasons that you should not get into bird watching. Before you get started, you must know why I’ve come up with these reasons. Read on!

1) You Don’t Like Animals (Especially Birds)

brown squirrel on gray tree trunk

Now this has got to be one of the most obvious reasons! If you’re looking into getting started with bird watching, you’ll definitely need to like animals. I’m not expecting you to love them, but at least appreciate them.

Firstly, when you’re out birding for the first time, as you’ll look for birds more, you’ll tend to notice movements of other kinds of animals and insects around you.

If you can’t stand the sight or even afraid of animals in general, then this hobby may not be suitable for you. In order to spot birds, most of the time you would be surrounded by other animals that also exist in the same ecosystem as the birds.

Secondly, and most importantly, if you don’t like birds, then obviously you won’t like watching birds right? If you don’t like the way they look, are scared of them, or even had bad experiences with them in the past, then you should probably stay away from this hobby as this is what it is.

I’ve never seen or heard of any birder that hates animals or birds. I need to keep this clear: I’m not saying that you have to love them dearly for you to get started bird watching.

I’m just saying that you shouldn’t mind being in an environment full of other animals and birds in an ecosystem if you want to start bird watching.

2) You Don’t Like The Outdoors

dawn nature holiday vacation

While birding can sometimes be done at home, birding mostly happens outdoors. While there are methods such as backyard birding in which you can bird close to home, you still need to be exposed to some sort of outdoor elements. The majority of the fun in birding actually happens while you’re out and about or out in the field.

Firstly, if you are outdoors, the weather can turn nasty: extremely hot or extremely cold weather. What’s worse is when there are natural disasters or long bouts of thunderstorms in some countries in the world.

If you are going to be birding, you’ll most probably need to spend a bulk of that time outdoors, and so you need to be able to take light drizzles or slightly hot weather.

From where I’m from, a tropical, hot, and humid climate, it can get really challenging during the hotter months in June.

If you hate the heat and just really hate to break a sweat, then I hate to break it to you: bird watching may not be too ideal for you. To give you an example, bird watching often involves you being in an environment where you may or not be comfortable all the time.

Birds can at one moment be fleeting around and moving from place to place very quickly, but also take their time to show themselves. All in all, it may be hard to spot birds if you become uneasy and give up when a small drizzle comes by.

Secondly, in a natural environment, you’re gonna be exposed to lots of wild elements such as insect bites, mud, and uneven grounding. If you are having trouble moving around and just don’t find it natural to be in nature most of the time, then I would suggest that you don’t take up this hobby.

Also, you may notice how birders always show up with their nicely taken pictures and videos that look absolutely amazing. But in actual fact, you may not get to see the dirty side of things where they had to stay in an unideal outdoors environment to get those pictures.

3) You Become Impatient Easily

crop black man checking time on wristwatch near metro station

Spotting birds out in the field and even at your bird feeder or bird box can be a true test of your patience. I remember how once I heard of a particular sandpiper that only appeared on an island where I live, and so I went down to have a look to try to find the bird.

Then initially, I thought I would just quickly run around and go find the bird really, but then I realized that that isn’t how it works.

Birding requires a bit of luck and a whole lot of patience. I discovered this only when I stopped to tie my shoelaces and noticed that there were a pair of those sandpipers right in front of me! If you’re the kind of person that wants to have results quickly and identify all the birds in your region really quickly, then this might be an expectation for you to drop.

Birding is a process where your eyes, ears, and intuition will slowly be trained up over the years so that you can identify birds quickly and easily.

If you aren’t patient enough to learn that experience over accumulating birding skills over time, then I would say that this hobby isn’t really the right fit for you.

4) You Don’t Like A Wonderful Birding Community

While some may say that birding can be done pretty much alone with just you, your binoculars, and your smartphone, there is a whole wonderful community out there in the birding space that you are missing out on!

The real true joy in birding is getting to know others who are interested in the same things as you are!

Birders are constantly reaching out to each other and connecting over apps, forums, websites, social media, and YouTube to share their knowledge and promote anything that’s related to bird watching.

If you’d like to do activities alone, bird watching might still be okay for you, but experiencing the impact and encouragement that a community can bring can really take your love for bird watching to a whole new level.

5) You Expect To Become A Bird Identification Expert Instantly

Bird identification takes time. If you’d like to get started with bird watching just so that you can show off to others that you know about this species’ name and that bird species’ name all within a week or birding, then chances are, you aren’t gonna achieve it. Bird identification skills take time to develop and do not come instantly.

This is purely due to the fact that there are so many birds that look so alike, that you may need to see both pictures side by side in order for you to differentiate them both.

However, if you’re up to the challenge of bird identification and do not expect it to come instantly and easily, then I suggest you get started with these articles on bird identification quiz websites and bird identification apps that I wrote previously.

Final Thoughts

Well, there you go! The 5 reasons why you should NOT start bird watching. If you can easily say that these 5 reasons aren’t enough to deter you from this amazing hobby called bird watching, then WELCOME TO THE COMMUNITY!

If you’d like to get started on your birding journey, be sure to check out other articles that I’ve written on this blog, as I’ve written this blog with a beginner birder in mind.

Enjoy your stay, thanks for watching, and happy birding!

My Recommended Birding Resources:

Hey there, Justin here!

Here’s a list of all my favorite resources, products, and brands I trust and love.

My Celestron Nature DX 8×42 Binoculars: It’s a great budget pair for beginner birders. Highly valued for its price! Read my review.

Safe Paint for Bird Baths Guide: Learn about non-toxic paint for painting bird baths.

Safe Sealers for Bird Baths Guide: Learn which sealers are safe for bird baths.

Safe Paint for Bird Feeders Guide: Learn what special care needs to be taken to paint bird feeders with the right paint.

Safe Paint for Birdhouses Guide: Learn about non-toxic paint for painting birdhouses. (Not the same as bird baths!)

Bird Identification Apps Guide: 2 of my favorite birding apps are Merlin Bird ID, and eBird Mobile! Merlin is great for tracking and identifying birds, and eBird Mobile is great for tracking the birds sighted when birding.

Check out my resources page for the full list of resources I recommend!

Justin Chia

Justin is the founder and author of Birding Outdoors. He is a Nanyang Technological University (NTU) alumnus with a Bachelor of Biological Sciences and a former data analyst.

Now, Justin runs the Birding Outdoors blog full-time, hoping to share his deep love for birds, birding, and nature with others.

To unwind, Justin enjoys gaming and reading.

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