An introduction to birding

An introduction to birding

By starting my first blog post, I would like to give you an introduction to birding, my new passion, and addiction.

What is birding or birdwatching?
It is a form of wildlife observation whereby the observation of birds is a hobby or citizen science.

How is it done?
With the naked eye, using binoculars, telescopes, and cameras, listening for bird sounds, or by watching public webcams.

in 1969 a Birding Glossary appeared in Birding magazine which gave the following definitions:

Birder. The acceptable term is used to describe the person who seriously pursues the hobby of birding. May be professional or amateur.

Birding. A hobby in which individuals enjoy the challenge of bird study, listing, or other general activities involving bird life.

Bird-watcher. A rather ambiguous term used to describe the person who watches birds for any reason at all, and should not be used to refer to the serious birder.

How are birds recorded?
Many birdwatchers maintain a life list, that is, a list of all of the species they have seen in their life, usually with details about the sighting such as date and location.

How many birders are there?
According to Wikipedia, About 4% of North Americans were interested in birding in the 1970s, and in the mid-1980s at least 11% were found to watch birds at least 20 days of the year. An estimate of 61 million birders was made in the late 1980s.

According to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study, birdwatchers contributed $36 billion to the US economy in 2006, and one-fifth (20%) of all Americans are identified as birdwatchers.

But why can someone get hooked on birding?
From my own experience: After watching the more common birds in my backyard, I wanted to hear and see other birds. So, I wondered of to my nearest park and yes, there is a bird that is not found in my garden. Then I purchased a bird book of what and how many birds can be seen in South Africa. It mentions more than 950 bird species in SA. I started to photograph these birds and recorded each new species on my blog. As the different types of birds got less in my area, I started to travel a bit further. And all of a sudden I became a twitcher as I also wanted to see and record a rare bird.

What are the best times for birding?
Many birdwatchers occupy themselves with observing local species (birding in their “local patch”), but may also make specific trips to observe birds in other locales. The most active times of the year for birding in temperate zones are during the spring or fall migrations when the greatest variety of birds may be seen. On these occasions, large numbers of birds travel north or south to wintering or nesting locations. Early mornings are typically better as the birds are more active and vocal making them easier to spot.

I hope that you found this brief introduction to birding informative and you can look forward to my bird-watching journey.

Content creator of an introduction to birding.: Petrus Albertus van Tonder

You might also be interested in Birding books for sale.

Here is an inspirational blog post by One Earth Conservation that I hope would also inspire you:

Do you have any bird-watching stories and photos you would like us to publish in the magazine? Here is a link for more information:

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lloyd marshall

I publish Talking Birds, the monthly emailed magazine for Australian bird keepers. I would like to get in touch to see if we can assist each other. Regards, Lloyd Marshall.


This is great!! I love to watch birds in the wild and photograph them! I’m trying to see an up-close (but not too close) snowy owl. I would love to photograph one in the wild! They are so beautiful and have started to frequent where we live over the past couple of years so it is super exciting! Thanks for sharing your new passion!

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