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How To start birding

Birding is a very popular activity, with 47 million birders in the United States alone. Whether you are a serious birder, or a novice birder, give it a try! The best times of year to go birding are Spring (late April to May and June) and Fall (September). May is the best month for birding as the migrating species arrive to breed. July and August are known to be quiet as the birds are focused on raising their young and aren’t as vocal. Come September fall migration picks up before the winter months.
 
Unsure where to start? Want to know where to go birding in the Stouffville area? Read on, explore the site and you’ll find everything you need to know.

  • Tips
  • Tools

Whether you spot birds using binoculars or prefer to photograph them, you will need some tools to help you in the field.

For binoculars, it is recommended that you don’t use a cheap or old hand-me-down pair. When you do spot a bird, you need binoculars that focus quickly, have a wide view of field and be bright enough to show detail even in poor light conditions. You want to be able to see all the beautiful colors of the bird in sharp focus and to track it in flight. Consider these options when choosing how much to spend on binoculars and what your budget is. There are great choices in almost every price range, but there are also junk binoculars out there that you should avoid.

The same stands for bird photography. Because birds can present many challenges in a photographer’s world, it is recommended that you take the best camera equipment with you. Birds can be very small, fast or far away and not all cameras are good at dealing with these situations. A digital DSLR camera has one of the best autofocus systems. When you do spot that bird through the camera lens, you need your camera to be able to accurately autofocus and take a sharp photo. Once a bird lands on a tree branch, there may only be a few seconds before it takes off again, so check your settings before you start walking, have your camera switched on and be prepared to react quickly.

Useful camera settings are Aperture Priority or Sports Mode. Aperture Priority with a low f number eg. f/ 4.5, will allow you to capture the bird in focus but to blur the background out. This is useful if there are a lot of tree branches behind the bird that would distract the viewer. However, Sports Mode is great for capturing birds in flight or taking off from a branch. The quicker the camera can react to the situation, the better.