Birding 101

Learn Everything You need to Know About Bird Watching

Welcome to the wonderful world of birding! We’re glad you’ve joined our community of nature enthusiasts and bird watchers from around the world. Here is a quick guide to to get you started on your life-long pursuit of all things birding. We hope to see you somewhere soon at one of our local birding trails!

What is Birding?

Woman bird watching

Have you ever stopped to look up at a chirping bird in your backyard tree? Ever paid enough attention to notice what that bird is doing at any given time? Guess what, you’re a birder. Yep! It’s that simple. With little knowledge of birding, you may start to notice and categorize birds in your mind. You may start building the skills to visually recognize observations in nature, and eventually, you may write them down or even draw them!

Why go Birding?

Birder writing notes

Apart from the obvious reason that some people just love birds, many people get along with birding because they love to be in nature and they want to contribute to science. Times are busy and getting busier, and birding offers a way to disconnect from the busyness of life and enjoy oneself in nature, while also feeling quite productive. Contributing to the area’s eBird tracking resource is a great way to help Scientists with their ongoing studies in migration, breeding and habits of any particular bird. You can bird all year round and see different things in all different environments. You will also have the opportunity to meet interesting people who have traveled the world over and contributed to scientific research in very impactful ways.

Do I need Binoculars?

Man birding with binoculars

A resounding yes! I like to scuba dive and while free diving just below the surface is super fun, I am able to enjoy and experience much more of the aquatic environment and wildlife by wearing the appropriate scuba gear and going deep! Binoculars get you up close and personal with birds that you may not see if you aren’t using them. Just like with any sporting equipment, quality and prices vary. Get comfortable with the pair you choose. Practice walking around and focusing in on stationary objects. The more you do this, the better you’ll be at catching that glorious bird in flight just before it soars out of sight!

Should I have a camera on hand?

Birders Birding

Well, that depends. Having a camera on hand might help you organize what you see after the trip is done. Most professional birders and photographers, will, of course, be toting state-of-the-art cameras with expensive, long range lenses that can capture a hummingbird mid-flight with great clarity and color. But, this isn’t necessary. Get used to seeing with your eyes, birding with binoculars, then consider whether birding photography suits you. I want to say “take baby steps,” but I guess, “take birdie steps” works, too. Take birdie steps, and remember, most importantly, have fun!

Books, Resources & Guides to consider while birding SETX

SETX Birding Hotspots Trio

Field guides, bird books, and other local resources will make your birding trip more fun and productive. Consider downloading the Birding Hotspots of SETX to get a look at what you can see throughout the year on the upper Gulf Coast – And don’t forget your personal life list since it’s sure to grow in Port Arthur, Texas!

Request a Birding Book

Remember to share your birdie photos using our hashtag #loveportarthurtx

Happy Birding!

Written by Callie Summerlin