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What Is Birding

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About Birding

Bird-watching, or birding, is the fastest-growing outdoor activity in North America. In Canada, 1 in 5 people are watching birds on a regular basis, whether on hikes, from bikes, cars, or in the backyard. It has become an outdoor activity that individuals and families can do almost anywhere in the world, contributing to the ever-increasing knowledge base through citizen science.

Today, with the Internet and smartphones, birding has come of age. The ability to see a bird, identify it, and share the discovery not only satisfies your curiosity and awe but gives you a sense of accomplishment knowing that your sighting is part of an ever-growing database of natural history in Nova Scotia. With so many people involved in birding, you can attend any number of field trips that cater to new birders. This can bring a strong connection to nature, while providing a wonderful social experience that often results in friendships that last a lifetime.

Many birders learn to not only identify each bird by its shape, size and colour but also by sound, habitat and behaviour. Each bird has noises that are different from one another, visits different habitats, and is unique from each other in various ways. Birders may also keep lists of what they see, as well as report their daily sightings to local birding groups, Listserv, Rare Bird Alerts (local and national), as well as enter their records into international databases.



This section is excerpted from Claudia Wilds's outstanding book Finding Birds in the National Capital Area (Smithsonian, 1992; available from the ABA).