SpecialBirding Tips and Tricks | Birding 101 with Sheridan Alford

Interested in birding? Learn all about birding from Black Birders Week’s co-founder Sheridan Alford.

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- I'm Sheridan Alford and this is Birding 101.

(nature sounds) (gentle music) So, you found your best ways to obtain the information, but every good mastery requires practice.

Birds can be difficult to study considering the same ones aren't there every day, or are they?

To answer the question.

No, but there are ways you can use bird tendencies to get your basics down.

(gentle music) Tip number one, listen to two or three different bird songs before you go out in your area and master those.

Use the apps that you've found work best for you and pick the birds that frequent your home location.

Most apps include spatial data so that you can find birds that are found in your region and what time of year.

You can also see what other people in the neighborhood have reported seeing.

It's like your own treasure hunt.

(gentle music) Tip number two, as a beginner, you want to start out slow and a good season to start slow is in the winter.

During winter, all of your home team birds are still around.

These are the birds that do not migrate, and you can focus on them in the off season.

When spring and fall come back around, there are thousands of migrants and although pretty, they can be overwhelming.

Start with your manageable backyard birds and go from there.

(bird chirping) (gentle music) Tip number three, take out that field guide and take some notes.

Find the birds that belong to those two to three calls you listen to.

Do they look how they sound?

Take notes on some of the key characteristics you can use to identify them.

Like, color patterns, key shape features, relative size, habitat preference, like were they on the ground or high in trees, and other telltale characteristics that will help you narrow down the species while in the field.

(gentle music) Tip number four, if you have binoculars and plan on birding with those, it's a good idea to practice your spotting.

Find objects around your house and see if you can go from naked eye to binocular spotting in the shortest amount of time possible.

If safety permits, try the same exercise either from your window or outside your house.

Practice makes perfect.

So the more you get used to siting targets, the better it will get, especially when the target is a moving bird.

Pro tip, spot it with your eyes and then bring your monopolies to your face.

Do not search for the bird through the binoculars.

It is a process so do not rush yourself.

Until next time, I'm Sheridan Alford, and thank you for watching, Birding 101.

(gentle music)