By Leslie Sinn
If you would like to become involved in an activity that you can participate in at any time of year, in any location, and in all types of weather — try birding! Birding is something that people of all ages enjoy. You can go birding on your own or with family or friends. There are even organized birding clubs.
All you need to get started is a pair of binoculars and a field guide to local birds. A couple of good books to start with are Peterson’s Field Guide to the Birds East of the Rockies and the Audubon Society’s Field Guide to North American Birds. These books and many other books on birds are available at the local library.
You can start by putting out a feeder and trying to identify the birds that visit. In the wintertime, birds are easier to spot because of the lack of leaf cover on most of the trees and their willingness to come in close for the food available at your feeder.
If you aren’t sure about starting out on your own, you can get help from experienced birders by participating in organized bird counts. The Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy participates in the National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count—join us next year. Beginners of all ages are welcome and are paired with experienced birders. Participating in birding classes is another option.
If you like a challenge, or would like to help in a bird research project:
- Help with the Loudoun County Bird Atlas
- Sign up to monitor a Bluebird Nestbox trail at one of our public trails or at your home.
- The Cornell Ornithology Laboratory sponsors a number of birding events including the Great Backyard Bird Count, FeederWatch, Pigeon Watch and a number of other activities throughout the year.
The Cornell Ornithology Laboratory website can be accessed at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/.
Good luck and have fun birding!