Centralwestchesteraudubon.org is no longer available here. Please try cwasociety.org instead.
Joining the Bird-Watching Community
Bird-watching is one of those rewarding pastimes that enhances your everyday life, even when you are going about mundane chores. Suddenly you'll be listening to and noticing birdsong—identifying species that were previously anonymous. Bird-watching is a little like the artistic endeavors of painting or photography, since it teaches you to see and hear and connects you to nature. You'll spend more time in the open air, feasting on daylight and learning about all kinds of amazing wildlife.
As your interest in bird-watching grows, so your passion for conservation is also likely to grow. You may find yourself joining conservation groups and taking part in work parties to improve wildlife habitats. You might even travel long distances to see an unusual or rare avian species. Any or all of this is healthy, but where do you get started in bird-watching?
Join a Club
If you want to grow your knowledge of birds and be able to identify them with greater ease, joining a club will accelerate your progress. Seasoned "birders" will be happy to give you the benefit of their experience and exchange notes. Aside from learning a great deal, you may also enjoy the social interaction with like-minded people.
Bird-watching optics like binoculars and telescopes can be expensive, but there are always good-value buys to be had. An 8x42 pair of binoculars is a good starting point. You don't want binoculars that are too powerful because they will give you a shakier view. The other essential item you need is a good field guide to help you identify species as you see them. Look at Peterson Field Guides and you'll be on your way to years of bird-watching enjoyment.