There are two ways to watch birds. You can bring them to you, or you can go to them. Either way, you can have hours of educational entertainment. One way is easier, but the other way gives you a better look at how the birds actually live. Both ways cost a little money to get into and maintain. You may even want to combine both for maximum enjoyment.
To bring the birds to you, you need something that they want. Birdhouses and bird feeders both work well to do this. Do a little research on what certain types of birds like to eat. This will allow you to match the type of feeder and feed to the kinds of birds you want to attract. Obviously, you won’t attract blue birds with a hummingbird feeder.
The same idea is true for birdhouses. The type of house, position and size of the entrance, and location are all important considerations. It takes very little effort to find out what type of house fits which bird. Some of these are sold commercially with the correct specifications for each bird type. Once you have the feeders and houses in place, just get your binoculars and prepare for birdwatching.
If you are real nature hound, you can prepare yourself for a journey into the places where the birds reside. This might be a forest or an open grassy area depending on what birds you hope to glimpse. You will need similar equipment as any other hunter. The difference is that you will be armed with binoculars and a camera instead of a weapon. Before trotting out to the woods, do some research on the types of birds that are indigenous to your area. You will want to know where they nest and the time of year you are most likely to see them.
Buy a good quality bird identification book. Get the one with lots of large glossy pictures of many types of birds. Spend a little time with this book before you go out. This way, you may already be set to identify some types of birds that you did not already know. Take the book with you.
For your adventure, you will need a good quality back pack to carry your gear, water, and food. Go with a pack and clothing that will help you blend into the environment where you will be looking for birds. Get mosquito, tick, and insect repellent. These will all be hunting you while you hunt the birds. Arm yourself against them. A good hat that can shield you from the sun will be good for your head, skin, and eyes. Take along sunglasses. The kind that highlight colors can actually help you spot birds.
Take the best camera your budget can handle. Birds move fast. They blend with their environment, and you often have to take their picture from a distance. All of these will conspire to frustrate you if your camera is low quality.
Get a chair that can be carried over your shoulder or attached to your pack. If you want it in your pack, get a small folding stool. If you want a little more comfort, get one of those that folds up and fits in a nylon bag with a strap. You will want a chair unless you’re one of those tough people who prefers sitting on the ground with the bugs, lizards, and snakes.
Speaking of snakes, get a good pair of hiking boots. These will be good for your legs and feet. They will also offer a measure of protection from things like snakes that may be too low for your vision to pick up. You don’t really have to worry about stealth too much when bird hunting. Most birds have figured out that you can’t fly. Once you settle down, they will too.
As long as you plan your birdwatching outings for 2 hours or less, bathroom equipment should not be necessary. You should pack a first aid kit into your pack to take care of scratches and things as you go along. If you are unfamiliar with the area, take along a map, if available. Don’t forget your cellular phone if you are going deep into an unknown forest. If you can get a signal, it will help get you home. The final thing that you should take is a notebook and pencil or pen. You will want to record what types of birds that you saw and what they did.