Are You a Nerd About Birds?

September 2017

One of the most relaxing activities to do on a houseboat that will help you appreciate nature is the act of birding. To some of you, this is obvious. To others of you, you are still adjusting to the word ‘bird’ being used as a verb. But be assured, birding (or birdwatching) is a popular event in many places.

A lot of birders will keep lists of all the birds they have spotted in their lives. Some have even travelled many miles to see a particular species existing in another part of the country. It’s sort of like a “gotta catch ‘em all” activity, it’s just frowned upon (and possibly illegal?) to actually catch them all, so you’ll have to settle for just catching a glimpse of them. These lists get to be pretty detailed and are pretty serious, often submitted to the American Birding Association as some official type of documentation.

But like with all hobbies, you have to start somewhere. So here’s how to become a birder:

Find a place to bird.

These are usually places with trees because, spoiler alert, birds typically build their nests in trees. The most popular and diverse places to bird in the U.S. are national parks, with the most diverse place being at Point Reyes National Seashore in California.

The really neat thing about birding by boat is that you’re next to the water source where many birds typically like to be around. Also, you get the advantage of birding at a unique vantage point.

A great place to go to find places near you to bird is

Go at a good time.

You’ve heard birds start the day screaming (or singing, for the optimist), so that’s a safe bet that they’re awake and active. It’s when they’ll be out catching food. And just like the early bird gets the worm, the early birder gets to see it all happen. Well, I can’t promise you’ll see a bird catch a worm, but I can semi-confidently say that you’ll see a bird.

Mid-afternoon, when the sun is high, birds that sun (yes, sunning is also a verb) will be out soaking up the rays.

Also, season-wise, spring and fall are migratory seasons, making them the best for birding. So there couldn’t be a better time for your involvement in this sport.

If you want to see a particular kind of bird, you will need to study its habits to know when they best time to see it would be. Also, if you want to know what you’re seeing when you’re looking at the birds, researching species might be helpful.

Have the right equipment.

Okay, so you don’t need a suit of armor or anything (unless you’re on the hunt for some vicious birds), but there are some tools that will help you be a better birder. Binoculars, for example, are especially helpful, considering that birds aren’t very large creatures. You can even use a little extendable telescopes that fits in your pocket like a pirate (hey, you’re already on a boat). And that’s pretty much all the equipment you need.

Okay, now go spread your metaphorical wings and track some real-winged little birdies. 

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