If you've ever been birding with accomplished birders, you may hear them say they check the radar or wind maps the night before heading out to predict when certain species, like the black and white warbler above, will be arriving in the area. Another great source for determining migration timing is the Cornell "Birdcast" website. The site also gives quick updates about certain species on the move. If you're interested in learning more about birding or becoming a birder here a few tips:
• Buy a decent pair of binoculars. This is the number one, most important thing to own in order to become a birder. A very good pair will usually start around $200.00, but what a worthwhile investment!
• Download a birding app or pick up a field guide. The best resource for you depends on how you learn best. Go through your guides when you're sitting in the waiting room at your doctor's office or waiting to pick up your kids from school. It's much healthier than stalking social media sites! This is how you will become familiar with all different birds, but also how to easily find them when you spot something you want to identify.
• Find an active birding group near you. Your local or state Audubon can help you with this! Most accomplished birders want to help a newbie become interested in birding, so don't be afraid to go on birding walks with professionals. Some require a small fee, but most are free. We all have to start somewhere, so never be embarrassed to ask questions. Learn and participating leads to conservation, and that's the goal.
• Visit parks or other familiar places. If you set aside time to actively seek out birds on your own, soon you will be hooked and will start noticing birds you never realized were always there. Birding truly is a healthy hobby and one you will enjoy for the rest of your life.
Remember to always choose bird friendly coffees! Coffees with the Bird Friendly® Coffee designation protects migratory birds and their habitats and are certified organic, with a healthy soil base and zero pesticides