Binoculars for the Biggest Week In American Birdwatching

Binoculars for Birdwatching

The Biggest Week in American Birding is the time of year when birdwatchers devote more of their time to a variety of birdwatching-related activities, including raising awareness about birds and their importance to our ecosystem.  True birdwatchers, also known as, “birders” (the term for casual watchers), observe wild birds any time of the year and master their ability to identify and understand various species of birds based on characteristics, behaviors, sounds and flight patterns. Birdwatchers are also called ornithologists. According to Birdertown, there are over 50 billion birds in the world, although some other data suggests there could be up to 430 billion birds on our planet.

I consider myself to be a birder. 

I am fortunate to live in an area of the country where our climate invites many species of birds in my yard for observation and enjoyment. Years ago, I began to purposefully pay attention the birds that visit our yard regularly. I found that the best way for me to quietly bird-watch was by using a great pair of quality binoculars or binos. I have found that using binoculars to bird-watch greatly enhanced my ability to see fine details about the birds and more quickly identify the species from a non-threatening distance. 

child watching birds with binoculars

I have used both the Burris Droptine HD Binoculars and the Vortex Crossfire HD Binoculars.

Both pairs provided excellent clarity and definition, while making bird-watching a truly enjoyable activity and include excellent lifetime warranties. 
– The Burris Droptine HD Binoculars have an 8x magnification and includes a soft case, neck strap, lens cloth and lens cover.
– The Vortex Crossfire HD Binoculars have a 10x magnification and includes a case, case harness, lens cover, lens cloth and neck strap.  

Choosing the right binoculars is importance for the best viewing experience. 

Several features should be considered when purchasing binoculars for birdwatching activities. Specifically, you should check:

  • the field of view specifications,
  • the magnification,
  • the weight of the binos, and
  • the ability to withstand various weather conditions.  

Binocular Field of View

refers to the size of the circular viewing area as you look through the binoculars and is described in degrees or feet. A wider field of view allows the birder to spot the birds and keep them in view as they move more easily.  Consider purchasing binoculars with a minimum of 8x magnification, which provides a better balance between brightness and field of view.

Binocular Magnification

is equally important and allows for a better view of the birds at a distance. The higher the magnification, the closer view of the bird, but too high of a magnification can result in a narrower field of view. For beginners, it is suggested that a magnification of 8x should be sufficient, however, 10x – 12x if great for observing distant birds.

Binocular Weight

The weight of the binoculars can play a role in how long or how often you birdwatch. An overly heavy pair of binoculars can become very tiring when holding them up to your eyes for extended periods of time. Choosing the lightest pair (generally 1 – 3 pounds), with the features you want, will serve you well. Remember, you may decide to carry them around, so ensure that you have a case, neck strap or harness for ease of carrying during your activity. 

Binocular Materials

Depending on frequency of use, the materials of the binoculars matter over time.  Are the lenses glass or plastic and how is your viewing experience through the lenses of choice. Is the material weatherproof and waterproof? Will it withstand time and extreme weather conditions, if necessary. 

Vortex optics used for bird watching

For the best birdwatching experiences, purchase a quality pair of binoculars.

Familiarize yourself with all of its features and different components. Adjust the distance between the eyepieces (known as the interpupillary distance) to match the width between your eyes. Also, adjust the eye cups to the correct position, particularly if you wear glasses. Take the time to use your focusing rings to find your clearest view. Lastly, protect your investment by ensuring that your binoculars are backed by a great warranty.

You are now ready to begin enjoying the birds and nature all around you. You may start by locating a bird with your natural eye first, then use your binoculars to obtain a focused and closer look. Happy birdwatching! 

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