I’m sure you’ve come across the term bird watching before and you’ve considered about even getting started in it, but you don’t really know if it’s worth the wait. Hey, I also thought the same and how I wished there were some guy or some page online that could convince me that bird watching was this worth it. Now let me be that guy. I’ve done some research on what some other bird watchers think are the reasons why the hobby is worth it.
Here are Top 10 convincing reasons to start bird watching today:
- Birds Are Everywhere
- Bird Watching Is A Low-Entry Hobby
- Bird Watching Isn’t Entirely Seasonal
- Bird Watching Allows You To Appreciate Nature
- The Bird Watching Community Is Amazing
- The Thrill Of The Hunt
- Bird Watching Sharpens Your Reflexes
- Bird Watching Is Good For Your Physical Health
- Bird Watching Is Good For Your Mental Health
- Bird Watching Is Collecting Pokémon In Real Life
1) Birds Are Everywhere
A great hobby should be able to be done anywhere. This means literally everywhere – even globally. Many other hobbies like mountain biking or skating require a specific location and terrain for you to enjoy them.
Well, bird watching is a whole lot different. Birds are EVERYWHERE! This means that you can go bird watching wherever you are on the planet. In fact, some people go traveling for the purpose of bird watching and seeing a new set of bird species they haven’t yet seen!
Birds are also everywhere within your local vicinity. They are up in the trees, along the sidewalk, sitting on street lamps, and in the forest. Wherever you want to start bird watching, they will always be around. Well, what about the places with extreme weather conditions like the desert and Antarctica? There are birds there too!
Not only are birds everywhere, but they also have sheer biodiversity too! Their colors, sizes, and shapes all differ in different parts of the world. As birds follow migratory paths, it is also possible to see birds who come from all parts of the world too. It’s rare to be able to find a hobby like this can be done anywhere.
2) Bird Watching Is A Low-Entry Hobby
To begin as a bird watcher, all you need to do is begin to appreciate the birds around you. They’ve been around all along, it’s just that you probably haven’t even noticed them!
Why is it a low-entry hobby? That’s because to start bird watching carefully, it doesn’t even require any gear, even a pair of binoculars! A pair of binoculars will definitely be needed to help you progress as you go along and want to observe birds from afar. But that’s not really needed if you wanted to just get started.
Purchasing a pair of binoculars is all you really need to enjoy this hobby. All the other gear that you would need are not entirely essential. Hear me out: A pair of decent, durable binoculars is enough to last you for years on end, with no extra costs you need to spend on this hobby.
Of course, if you want to progress into bird photography, that’s entirely up to you to purchase a good camera! No pressure. All you really need to get started in bird watching is just your sense of sight and hearing!
3) Bird Watching Isn’t Entirely Seasonal
If you think about hobbies that are also sports, you may have guessed it, they are highly seasonal. One would not expect to be able to play or practice snowboarding during the summer. This is because lots of hobbies out there are dependent on the seasons.
Bird watching is an evergreen hobby that is in fact, enhanced further by the change of the seasons. Birds perform their migratory movements in the months of spring and fall, and these are the times when bird watchers get the most excited. Bird watchers all over the globe get excited and ready to take pictures of birds from a different region without even traveling! The birds come to you – how cool is that?
What’s better is that some resident birds remain put all year round, so you can get a chance at seeing them with a different plumage, even during winter! Now if you’d like to know a little bit more about the birding season and bird migratory periods, you can check out an article I wrote here.
4) Bird Watching Teaches You To Appreciate Nature
Nature’s a beauty ain’t it? Bird watching will make you love nature even more! When you step out into forests, jungles, wetlands, swamps, and lakes, you will slowly learn how beautiful our wild world is.
However, with the increasing amount of climate change and the destruction of bird habitats around the world, it’s become increasingly important for us to understand how we can combat it and prevent it. When you step into bird watching, you’ll soon realize that birds and other wildlife and vegetation are intertwined and they coexist in a functioning ecosystem.
As you learn more about the behaviors of the birds – mating, feeding, migration, you’ll soon discover how much the environment need to be conserved for our own sakes. Birds bring a new perspective of our place and responsibility to protect the Earth.
5) The Bird Watching Community Is Amazing
Unlike some hobbies, bird watching is not a solitary hobby. Bird watchers who think alike gather to enjoy the hobby together, or shall I say birds of the same feathers flock together.
Birds tend to flock to a location where they can find a more abundant source of food and a higher concentration of natural resources. As such, it is common to also spot other bird watchers in the area who want to spot a bird or two. Generally, they tend to be friendly and willing to help you out in your journey in bird watching.
Beyond just casual interactions, there are also bird watching groups on Facebook and official associations that you can be a part of. I personally enjoy the community of bird watchers in the Facebook group I’m in, as they always help each other out in helping to ID birds. The best part has to be the encouragement they give to each other, and the insights they give to track down a rarer bird.
Joining an official association for bird watching can instill a sense of belonging to a community to develop on this similar interest together. It’s a fantastic hobby to step out of your comfort zone, and share experiences with others. Us humans aren’t mean to do all things solitarily!
6) The Thrill Of The Hunt
If you’ve ever spoken to any bird watcher, they would have described this experience in one way or another. I would say that this feeling is one that makes the hobby so exciting.
Some say that this feeling of the thrill of the hunt comes all the way from our ancient ancestors who had to animals in order for food to survive. In today’s modern context, it is believed that humans still maintain this instinct to some extent, but instead of hunting birds, we are simply spotting them. For those who want to show, and not just tell the tale of spotting a rare bird, they can choose to take pictures of the bird, which is akin to the early ancestor’s kill. A similar hobby where people also feel this is fishing.
The thrill of the hunt is a fuzzy instinct and adrenaline in our veins when we see or hear a particular call of a bird not normally seen in our local area. It is an intense and exciting desire to be able to catch a glimpse of the bird. If you like feeling the adrenaline pumping through your veins, then this hobby is great for you!
This hunt also poses a challenge. Bird watching can, however, be more difficult than hunting actual large animals because of how fleeting and jumpy some of the small birds can get. In order to get a clear shot (camera shot) at the bird, you would have to get in really close without startling the bird! Any false step and it could potentially fly away, abandoning its nest.
If you thought bird watching was all calming and relaxing, think again, things can get really heated in this hobby!
7) Bird Watching Sharpens Your Reflexes
Let’s say you spot a bird on a branch in a faraway tree. This bird may not stay at that perfect spot on the tree for long. Sometimes all it takes is just 10 seconds before the bird decides to hope onto another branch, out of your sight. Frustrating isn’t it? Some love this challenge.
Bird watchers have adapted by sharpening their reflexes when they spot a bird rustling in the trees faraway. By doing a general scan with their eyes, if they spot any movement within the trees, they would immediately bring up their binoculars or camera to get a glimpse of the bird.
Bird watching trains us to have a swift reaction to a bird presence, whether it be a call or a fleeting sighting because you never know when these birds will disappear and never come back again! What a tease!
8) Bird Watching Is Good For Your Physical Health
In our current day and age, it is not uncommon for us to be sitting on our office chairs for hours on end just to work. And yet what do we do during the weekends? We sit on couches and watch Netflix, we game, we watch television. ANY time spent outdoors is already great for your physical health.
While backyard birding may not require much physical effort, most birds do not come to you, you have to go to their habitats to find them! This means that you will be forced to enter into a natural environment where you will sometimes need hours to hike to. Natural terrain such as mountains, cliffs, and dirt trails will force your physical endurance to be built up over time. Naturally, you will be able to build up muscles, and cardiovascular endurance through bird watching.
Let’s not forget the vitamin D you can receive from the sun and the fresh oxygenated air you breathe in directly from the vegetation around you.
If you’ve always wanted a hobby with an intermediate level of physical activity, bird watching is suitable for you!
9) Bird Watching Is Good For Your Mental Health
When you choose to become a bird watcher, you also choose to improve your mental health. Why do I say so? This is because bird watching can be such a relaxing activity to do in your free time.
Birds are colored with beautiful plumages and endowed with melodious songs that they begin singing in the early mornings. It’s almost like a kind of therapy to be immersed in a natural environment with the birds singing around you and breathing in the crisp fresh air of early mornings in our hike out.
Bird watching can offer a meditative experience if you sit in the quiet, watching and waiting for birds to appear and contemplate life. It is also a good form of a getaway from your busy corporate life, and think about the things that really matter in your life or to simply live in the current moment.
If you’ve recently chosen to retire from your job, bird watching can be a great way to keep your mind stimulated without excessive physical effort, while still maintaining the rewarding satisfaction of achieving your goals in spotting a rare bird.
10) Bird Watching Is Collecting Pokémon In Real Life
For those of you who are familiar with Pokémon, bird watching is really similar to that. Just that instead of catching pokemon, we are capturing pictures of birds. Shots of birds are proudly showed off on WhatsApp and Facebook groups among bird watchers like the rare shiny you managed to catch! Step aside Pokémon GO, here comes bird watching!
The elusiveness and rarity of shiny Pokémon can be compared to that one rare bird that bird watchers simply cannot locate! Identification, statistics, and details of Pokémon can be comparable to birds in real life. While it may be valuable for some gamers to be able to identify a Pokémon really quickly, it is also equally important to a bird watcher to do the same! Instead of studying the statistics of how powerful your Pokémon is, bird watchers get to compare and share the camera settings, angles, and locations in which they capture pictures of birds.
If you like Pokémon, you would definitely have a knack for bird watching. That’s for sure. In fact, many Pokémon were inspired by birds in real life.
After running through these 10 reasons to start bird watching, are you now more convinced on starting your own journey in it? I’m sure you are! I really hope this article has helped excite you and provided enough reason for you to get started bird watching, just like I did. If you’d like to know more about how you can get started bird watching in a stepwise guide, do check out an article that I wrote here.