Did you know that taking time to watch the birds is actually good for you. Studies have shown that it can improve your blood pressure and help to decrease anxiety. It also promotes outdoor activity which gets us out of the house and away from the computer. Some people use it as a form of meditation. Ahh, stress relief… leave it all behind
The nice thing about bird watching is you don’t need to go far. Choose a couple of parks in your neighborhood and plan time to take a relaxing stroll. You may even find a good spot to sit, have a coffee, and watch the birds in a certain area. I find that birds are most active in the early morning and late afternoon.
If you decide to take up this hobby, consider getting a comfortable backpack. This way you can go on your walks prepared for any sightings. Purchase a paperback or laminated field guide to birds in your area so you will be able to identify the birds. Take a birding journal along to take notes on different species. Binoculars are another must to allow you to focus in on their different markings. This will help you to distinguish between various types of sparrows and warblers. Binoculars are also very helpful when you’re viewing shore birds and ducks from a distance. Always pack a hat for protection from the sun. One with a short brim is better than a baseball cap. Take some water along to stay hydrated.
Every environment offers something different. There’s always something to see in urban or rural areas. Pick a few spots you enjoy, whether it’s by the water or the woods, to get the best of both worlds. You will be more likely to get good sightings at the forest edges where they meet a meadow, or in your own yard where the hedge meet the grass.
You have the choice to bird watch on your own, with a friend, or join a group. You could also choose to go on guided walks that take place in various parks in different areas of the city. The Rouge Valley just east of Scarborough does this. If you see a group of people looking at something in a certain area, don’t be shy about asking what they’re looking at. I’ve done this when visiting Thickson’s Woods in the spring when the warblers arrive. There are often birders there with their large scopes and they’ve always been willing to share their findings with others. You will likely see the same people in the parks you go to, a good way to make new acquaintances with others who share your interest. Age and gender doesn’t matter. I’m looking forward to teaching my grandson all about the birds!
Bird watching is enjoyed all year round. Come and visit us in any of our store locations. We’d be happy to set you up with the proper guides, binoculars, and suggest areas of interest in our neighborhoods.
Author – Jane Paradis