Know How to Watch Birds All Summer

If you enjoy the idea of a lazy relaxing day outdoors, birding is for you. The best part is that summertime is the time to bird-watch because the number of species is much higher. This article is going to look at what you need to do to ensure the best opportunity to see birds. If you didn't know, there are some tricks when it comes to birding like a pro. 

With birding there are two different types, both requiring a different skill set. The first type of birding is called Backyard Birding, and this of course involves watching birds from the comfort of your own yard. The second type of birding is Field Trip Birding which involves taking a trip to a new area to watch birds. Let’s break down each type of birding method to give you an idea of what you need. 

Backyard Birding 
When it comes to backyard birding, the key is to attract a wide variety of birds to your yard. The best way to make this happen is through the use of different birdhouse styles, feeders & food. For more specific birdhouses, check out our post about DIY birdhouse shadow boxes. A pro tip for making the ultimate bird-watching backyard is running water and live insects. 

Water Sources & Birding 
If you have the ability to supply your birds with a pond or water fountain, you will be blessed with endless sightings. Our pond has become the neighbourhood watering hole for a wide variety of feathered friends. Oddly enough, birds that typically fight each other are more than happy to take a sip side by side peacefully. Some prefer to drink directly from the waterfall, while others enjoy leaning over the edge. 

A word of warning if you choose to include a pond with fish you may also attract some predators. We have had a wide variety of predatory birds in our yard all thanks to the addition of our koi. The solution to this is having something moving above the pond or a cover to prevent pounces. Our solution was to add a trellis where the vining plants grow up. This protection is enough of a deterrent because predatory birds like to swoop down. 

Insects & Birding 
One of the best ways to attract more birds to your backyard is with live insects. This method may not be for everyone but is worth the shot if you want some real action. Try supplying your birds with a bowl of mealworms or earthworms near running water. In my experience, it brings a wide variety of birds to the yard and even causes them to be more active. Be ready to see some squabbles over the juiciest morsel! 

Field Trip Birding
Field trip birding is a different experience altogether. With this type of bird watching, you will want to determine which birds you would like to see and the corresponding ecosystems they enjoy. For example, woodpeckers are commonly seen in the boreal forest, prairie falcons are found in the prairies, and marbled godwit are seen at the beach. 

Once you have found your location, you will need to pack appropriately, given the trip's temperatures and length. Don't forget things like bug spray, sunscreen, lawn chairs, and even an umbrella. In many cases, a map or an idea of the general landscape is important because it will give you an idea of where the good spots are located. 

When looking at a map of the area, you will want to determine where the bodies of water are. This will be your best opportunity for finding a wide variety of birds because everyone needs a drink at some point in their flight. If it is moving water such as a creek, you will have an even better chance of finding unique birds. 

Birding Most Do’s 
Regardless of whether you travel to bird watch or simply do so from the comfort of the backyard, there are a few “best practices” for birding. The first one being the time of the day. Birds don’t enjoy the mid-day high heat, so the best time to watch for birds is early morning or evening. Once you figure out the best timing, you will want to practice your phishing combined with patience. 

Phishing is a similar concept to actual fishing, the difference being that we use sounds rather than lines with bait. After you have waited quietly without movement for a period of time you will want to try phishing. This is simply done by making a sound that intrigues smaller birds and doesn't have to represent the bird itself. 

This most popular way of phishing is through clenched teeth saying phish. It should make a part whistle sound that will get other songbirds interested in the area. Another method is done by blowing against the back of your hand, again making a whistling sound. 

Another important thing to keep in mind is you should avoid any bright colours on your clothing and gear. Stick to natural or even camo options to ensure you don't frighten the flighted friends. Scent isn't an issue when birding. It is primarily colours and movements that can change your overall birding success. 

There you have it, the official guide to becoming a birding professional. Remember this can be done in your backyard or a special location. The key is to know what bird you would like to see and then create or find the ecosystem they reside in. From there, patience is needed meaning little sound and minimal movements. Combine this with neutral coloured clothing and a packed lunch. You will soon be seeing birds in action. Let me know if the comments below what your favorite bird is.