Taste of the Past
Links for Birders
Tips for New Birders
Tips for New
Welcome to birding! We hope
you enjoy it as much as we do. And welcome to the Northeast Texas
Field Ornithologists, a.k.a. NETFO. We're
looking for new members just like you to become an active part of our
organization. We offer these tips and suggestions in hopes of
making your learning curve shorter and your enjoyment greater.
Suggestions to Help You Get More Out of Our Field Trips
Birding is fun, and field trips allow us to share this
wonderful outdoor experience. But sometimes our exuberance can scare
the birds off and interfere with other people's enjoyment. So it's
best to be quiet once we're in the field (or forest, etc.) and keep conversations
to a minimum.
Respect other birders' rights. Stay with the group and avoid flushing the birds before
others in the group have had an opportunity to see them. Let more
experienced birders lead the way.
Keep your focus on the field trip leader and the birds you
are seeking. Follow the group leader's cues. He or she may be
giving signals about a bird that has been spotted.
Since birds can be startled by sudden gestures or pointing,
it's often best to describe the location of birds using landmarks, distances and
If you haven't been able to see a particular bird, ask the
leader or an experienced birder to help you.
Often the leader
or other birders in the group will have a scope set up on a tripod for
viewing distant birds.
Be sure to speak up for your turn at looking through a scope to see the
birds. If none of the scopes are set at an appropriate height for you, don't
hesitate to ask for help adjusting the height.
Experienced birders generally welcome questions about finding
and identifying birds, especially if you use good judgment about when it's
appropriate to ask questions.
Enjoy! And always try to keep learning.
Read and follow the
Code of Birding Ethics of the American
Scan the trees, fields, water and sky. Look for motion
as well as perched birds. When you spot a bird, look directly at it
while raising your binoculars without shifting your eyes. Try to
observe as many details as possible. Bring a small notebook to record
your sightings and notes about the birds.
Listen. Learning how to recognize bird songs and calls
is a valuable aid in finding and identifying birds.
Avoid actions that could stress or endanger birds while
trying to observe them. Keep your distance from nests or young birds. If the birds are reacting to your presence, you are too
Stay on public parklands, roadways, etc. Ask permission from
landowners before entering private property.
Respect the privacy of others. Avoid pointing your binoculars
at people or their homes.
Learn the locally common birds first.
Studying common birds carefully helps you to recognize rare
birds when they don't "look right."
Pay attention to shape, behavior and habitat, not just size
Learn multiple field marks to identify a species, and base ID's on more than one feature.
After you've studied a bird, refer to a standard field guide
to confirm your identification.
All About Birds : Binoculars
Birding Optics : Binoculars and Scopes
Eagle Optics : Binoculars
Astronomics/Christophers : How to Pick
the Right Binoculars
Additional Resources for New Birders
Audubon Online Bird Guide
Audubon : Birding Basics / How to Bird
Audubon : How to Identify Birds
All about Birds : Cornell Online Bird Guide
Cornell : Birding Basics
Cornell : Building Bird ID Skills
See NETFO Links page for more resources.
Click on underlined links to go
directly to pages indicated.
Photos by Bob Metzler. Copyright © 1999-2011. Northeast Texas
Field Ornithologists. All rights reserved.
material on this Web site is intended only for the personal
information, education, and enjoyment of visitors to this Web site
may not be reproduced or published elsewhere without permission of the
respective author or photographer.
February 16, 2011.
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