A fun way to get you outdoors more
It’s not too late to make birdwatching part of your New Year’s resolution. This can be a fun personal goal to get you outdoors more and improve your birding skills. Here are a few ideas for bird watching resolutions.
1. Keep a “Year List” for 2022 bird sightings
Keeping track of the birds you saw and seeing how many different species is a great way to get into more birdwatching. Year lists as a New Year’s Resolution is a commitment to keep at it. The list can be anywhere you travel or just in your local area. Spark Birding’s New England Bird Watching Journal and Log is helpful tool to do just that.
2. Identify 25 bird species that are new for you
Bird identification is an important skill if you are new to birdwatching -- but it’s not easy to know what you are seeing on the name of the bird! First try to identify the bird on the spot with a field guide or birding app like Merlin. If you’re not sure, take note of the location, the size and shape, the colors and look it up later.
3. Take a birdwatching course
An online course is a great way to get to know the names and traits of bird species. Plus the photos, videos, and sound make it fun to digest. Test your knowledge with the quizzes and fill in your checklist for the birds in that course. Check out Spark Birding’s library of courses or the more advanced courses offered by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
4. Chase a Rare Bird
It can be fun to see the excitement that serious birders have about tracking a rare sighting in a given region. The story about why that bird is there is compelling (see the Steller’s Sea-Eagle for example). You can subscribe to a Rare Bird Alert on the eBird website for your chosen area.
5. Become proficient on eBird
If you are new to birdwatching eBird is a treasure trove of information. One area where eBird is really helpful is seeing what species you’re likely to see in a particular “hot spot” or wildlife refuge. You can see how many birds have been counted by species over any month or year.