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Today's Avian Beauty podcast will be a departure. Instead of talking about a specific bird, I'll be sharing some basic tips on how to enjoy birdwatching, or birding as those of us in the trenches call it.

The first thing you need to do is get yourself a set of binoculars. Don't worry if you can't afford the fancy kind. Just look for something from Celestron if you're on a budget. If you can spare the change, the more you spend, the better your results. My favorite pair come from Olympus and in today's show notes, I've linked to an article I wrote about the Olympus binoculars that will help you select a pair, regardless of your brand preference

Next you'll need a good hat, some sun screen and the all important field guide. A field guide is a book that helps you identify birds. While there are plenty of apps for this, I like to encourage beginners to use an actual book they can take anywhere, regardless of access to wifi.

My favorite for beginners is The New Birder's Guide to Birds of North America by Bill Thompson III. He passed away recently and was much loved in the birding world. His book is his legacy and will help anyone interested in the hobby.

If you do want to use an app on your phone, the free Merlin Bird ID is the best there is. It's from The Cornell Lab and the link to find it is in the show notes

You don't need to go to an exotic place to start birding. Head to the back yard, set up a few feeders, add a simple bird bath, sit down on the porch with your binoculars and field guide and you'll begin to see birds in a new light.

You'll want to build a list of birds you see (called a life list) and you may even want to snap a few photos of the birds that visit your backyard.

Lastly, I'd suggest going to some bird meetups. They are available almost everywhere and you can find other birders by visiting your local Audubon chapter.

Most importantly, have fun. Birding is a great hobby and you'll find yourself relaxing in new ways while getting closer to our feathered friends.

I hope you've enjoyed this episode of Avian Beauty. Thanks for listening.

Be sure to visit for more bird inspiration and information and please consider subscribing (for free) to our blog and podcast. I’m Scott Bourne. Happy birding.

If you'd like to show your appreciation for this site, please consider the purchase of prints or gifts featuring Scott's bird art, visit for more information.

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