SpecialFirst-Time Birders | Birding 101 with Sheridan Alford

After studying birds and learning the birds in your area, it is time to head out into the field. Learn how to prepare for your first birder expedition with Sheridan Alford, co-founder of Black Birders Week.

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

You found this new appreciation for birds.

You've been using your resources to learn some general anatomy and history.

Studied some species in your area, and now you're ready to go out on your first birder expedition.

When packing your bag, make sure you prepare for the terrain and personal constraints, bringing bug spray and water if necessary.

And don't forget your field guides.

Start slow, and remember you can't learn them all in one day.

Aim for a goal of seeing the three birds you focused on while studying.

When looking for a location to start birding, find one that is suitable for extended standing or sitting in one spot.

We want to stay stationary for this first couple of birding expeditions to maximize our learning and perfecting our techniques.

If you're staying in your backyard, then you've already found your perfect spot.

Time to start searching.

Remember to take out your notebook and to make some notes on things to remember as you observe.

Some good characteristics to write down are the color of the birds you see.

Where the birds are located on the landscape, like a power line.

What activity are they doing?

Are they fly-catching or ground-foraging?

And relative size.

It's good to compare it to something like smaller, or bigger than a Crow or a Sparrow.

You want to get into the habit of noticing everything.

And take extensive notes.

Remember, this is what you're going to be studying with later.

So make sure you understand them.

Use the key ID characteristics you learned from your field guide.

And mnemonics and tricks you learned from your peers or mentors.

This is a great opportunity to share your notes with the birding community, and any pictures or questions you have may be answered.

Join Facebook groups or social media clubs to keep and peak your interest in birding as you continue to expound on your craft.

I hope you guys learned some good tips for birding in the field as a beginner.

It is a process, so do not rush yourself.

Every bird is a fun bird to learn and make sure you make a note of it.

Even if it's just one bird, it counts.

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