Dust off your binoculars on January 5 for National Bird Day!
There are plenty of benefits to taking part in birdwatching: physical activity, learning something new, spending time outdoors… the list goes on!
Being outside is great for your mental health, as it generally improves your mood and provides you with a space to move outside the stressors of day-to-day life. Getting some sunshine, stretching your legs, and breathing in fresh air can be enough to turn your whole day around. Birdwatching can be calming; it is a great time to be by yourself and reflect.
You might even notice an improvement in your reflexes and mental alertness. Birdwatchers know that having your binoculars or camera on hand isn’t always enough to capture that dream shot of a bird. Birds are fast, and may only grace you with their presence for a short time.
Notice a bird you haven’t seen before? The best thing to do when you spot a bird you don’t recognize is take a picture or quickly write down everything you notice about the bird. While the bird is there, take out your sketch pad and sketch all the different parts of the bird. You can then consult a field guide of local birds to discover what you have found.
If after consulting a field guide you are still unsure of a bird’s identity, you can reach out to knowledgeable birders in your community for assistance. Be sure to include the following information from your notes:
- A description of the bird: size, colors, shape
- Location (city and state or province)
- A description of the habitat in which you found the bird,
and time of year
- Any behavioral observations, including feeding behavior and type of food you saw it eat