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How did you get started with Birding/Birdwatching

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Old Tuesday 17th September 2019, 19:23   #1
Matko
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How did you get started with Birding/Birdwatching

Hello everyone ,

If anyone want share about how she/he get started with birds .
I'm sure we could hear many interesting stories :)

Shortly from me .
I was astrophotogaphy amateur , few months ago sold all my telescopes, mountings and my dslr because needed money for family things . Before two months brought Nikon P900 and was so disapointed because he can not do much in astrophotografy.
One day I was on my balcony , drinking coffee, saw bird , took my new Nikon
and from that moment I can not stop doing it. It is like disease. I'm just thinking where to go chase birds and make good photo .
Hope this feeling will not fade never .
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Old Thursday 19th September 2019, 07:24   #2
Euan Buchan
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At a early age I was really into insects, I was more fascinated with Ladybirds. My grandparents & parents would give me jam jars so I can collect Ladybirds along with leaves and study them in the jar before letting them go but I also enjoyed lifting up rocks and look for Woodlice though in the early 90's people referred to them as slaters. Then one evening around 1997 I was watching tv and this programme called Birding with Bill Oddie came on, Bill's enthusiasm got me interested and asked my Grandpa to build a Nestbox which sadly Birds never came to. I did loose interest again until Bill Oddie returned with his Goes Wild series in the early 2000's and this time I asked for bird books and my grandparents gave me my first Binoculars which I still have and on the 16th February 2002 I went out Birding for the first time and I've been Birding ever since.
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Old Thursday 19th September 2019, 08:36   #3
RecoveringScot
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House Sparrow on a neighbour's roof. It was the first time I'd noticed that a bird was alive, and engaging in behaviour. My interest gradually widened over a couple of years. I took trips to local nature spots (having got info from the library) and it went on from there.
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Old Thursday 19th September 2019, 08:48   #4
Mike C
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My mum and dad would have told you I was always a little interested – despite some early I.D. errors (i.e. House Sparrow isn’t a baby pigeon !!). An A Level biology field trip to Walney Island helped, Eider on the nest, Oystercatcher, Herring Gull, etc., etc.
However, it wasn’t until 1988 that I actually started to bird watch.
I moved into a shared second floor office overlooking some woods, where we had a small feeding station. It attracted most of the expected woodland birds but also fly by Hawfinch and Lesser-spotted Woodpecker.
The lad who ran the feeding station was a birder and into twitching. At the same time members of the company social club set up a Nature and History Club (we worked on a site with spectacular mature woodlands with a decent sized mere and the site had been the former home of an aristocratic family). Building nest boxes, bird walks around the woods (Pied flycatcher in nest boxes) and helping to build a self-assembly hide on the banks of the mere drew me further into the birding scene.
Then in early 1989 I went with a few of the lads I’d met through these activities on my first birding trip to Seaforth. I’m still birding and twitching with one of those lads. I have no illusions, I was taken as a car filler on the trip to see Red breasted Nuthatch at Holkam – the twitching bug bit me that day.
Not done much twitching recently but not really just a birder. I regulary potter around my local patch (a bit of woodland, a bit of the Mersey) and I do surveys, help with the county bird report and conservation work (building fences, scything pasture, etc.) as and when I can.
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Old Thursday 19th September 2019, 12:40   #5
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I can trace it back to May 2016 when I was still a PhD student. I had a week-long conference in the "city" of Junction, Texas; it was a good conference, but there is NOTHING to do there. I'm not the most social person, so while everyone else was drinking and cooking smores, I aimlessly wandered around the campus and the town...

I'd been passively interested in birds for a while; in particular magpies and other corvids. I had been making incomplete lists of interesting birds I'd seen on trips abroad for a while, but Junction was the first time I went out with the explicit purpose of finding birds. And Junction had some really good ones! Dickcissels, Yellow-Billed Cuckoos, Green Kingfisher; even a self-found Great Horned Owl.

Even though I thoroughly enjoyed birding in Junction, I didn't do any more until December; some part of me was unwilling to admit I was a birder now I think. Then in December I went on my first UK birding trip; a day at Arundel WWT which yielded snipe and water rail; still two of my favourite birds to this day!

The final nail in the non-birder coffin was another conference in January 2017 in India; I also spent a few days visiting a friend in Sri Lanka who was also a fairly keen birder. The birds were absolutely sublime; a personal favourite being a family of Sri Lanka Grey Hornbills and a Crimson-Fronted Barbet. While I was away, my mother (who had also previously had a passing interest in bird) decided to go and find some interesting birds of her own. By chance, 2016/2017 was a waxwing irruption year, and a vagrant Rosy Starling had taken up residence in a housing estate in my home town! When I stepped off the plane from Sri Lanka, we went straight to look for the Starling: my first twitch! Of course we dipped it, but by this point the bug had bit and the rest was history.
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Old Friday 27th September 2019, 08:36   #6
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With me, it's akin to my sexuality, I was born with a liking for Ladies and birds / wildlife.

I still have books that were bought for me as Christmas presents when I was eight or nine, one that I treasure is the Hamlyn title 'Childrens Animal World, Encyclopedia in Colour', sometimes, it is just the way you're born?

I remember using an old rabbit hutch to catch birds in my council house garden. It was very simple, I turned the hutch on it's side so the door was on top. I made a hole in a doormat (for which I got a real spanking) through which I put about 10m of washing line. I placed the mat over the open door, leaving enough space for birds to enter, attracted by whatever bait it was I found, and waited. When birds entered, I simply tugged on the washing line, closing off the hole and catching the bird inside, my first capturee, was a Blue Tit. It goes without saying, that all birds were released unharmed.
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Old Friday 27th September 2019, 11:08   #7
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I've told this story on here before.
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Old Friday 27th September 2019, 12:10   #8
kb57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyadcock View Post
With me, it's akin to my sexuality, I was born with a liking for Ladies and birds / wildlife.
'Lol'! - I'd say it was inversely proportional to my sexuality - started birding at 12 and lost interest at 16 when I started chasing women!

...now I'm getting a bit 'past it', I've got back into birding...

If we're talking about getting started, I think it was my adopted dad pointing out a blue tit (or 'johnny bluecap' as he called it) perched on the guttering of our council house when I was about 2 or 3 - probably one of my earliest memories - before then I probably thought all birds looked like house sparrows.

When I was a bit older, the Ladybird series of 'what to look for in spring (etc.)' really captivated my interest in nature, the illustrations were wonderful, with so much going on in them. My initial interest was definitely more with plants, something I've continued with on a professional level - I had the Observers book of mosses before the bird book...so I guess my route was the opposite to those for whom birds are the 'gateway drug' into a wider interest in wildlife.
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Old Friday 27th September 2019, 17:01   #9
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Originally Posted by kb57 View Post
'Lol'! - I'd say it was inversely proportional to my sexuality - started birding at 12 and lost interest at 16 when I started chasing women!

...now I'm getting a bit 'past it', I've got back into birding...

If we're talking about getting started, I think it was my adopted dad pointing out a blue tit (or 'johnny bluecap' as he called it) perched on the guttering of our council house when I was about 2 or 3 - probably one of my earliest memories - before then I probably thought all birds looked like house sparrows.

When I was a bit older, the Ladybird series of 'what to look for in spring (etc.)' really captivated my interest in nature, the illustrations were wonderful, with so much going on in them. My initial interest was definitely more with plants, something I've continued with on a professional level - I had the Observers book of mosses before the bird book...so I guess my route was the opposite to those for whom birds are the 'gateway drug' into a wider interest in wildlife.
Agree, our school library had them all and I was enthralled.
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Old Friday 27th September 2019, 17:11   #10
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I started developing a bit of an interest when my dad moved to Florida and I first went to visit him and saw all the herons, ibises, and sandhill cranes around - I learned to ID all the larger stuff plus a few of the common shorebirds (I didn't have binoculars yet). But I really fell headfirst into birding a couple years after that when I took an ornithology course in college. I remember getting my Sibley guide for the class and thinking that surely the drawings of the warblers were highly exaggerated... until I saw the real birds! We also did a few mist netting field trips that really captured my attention. That was 2003, been a die-hard birder (and ornithologist) ever since.
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Old Sunday 29th September 2019, 23:00   #11
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I have been into camping/hiking/wildlife since I was a kid. As a young professional in Houston, TX, I realized that if I was going to experience the outdoors while not on vacation, it wasn't necessarily going to involve hiking up mountains and seeing megafauna.
I did some local hikes in wildlife refuges along the coast and in the national forests of the piney woods of east Texas, and realized that even though I wasn't encountering bear, elk or moose, there was an enormous amount of avian life that I was completely ignorant of.
I started paying more attention to the birds, and eventually bought a Texas bird field guide and binoculars. I'm also very numbers-oriented and signing up for Ebird and being able to easily list things really got my birding ramped up.
That was about 3 years ago, and during my Texas birding adventures, I've stumbled across many of the larger mammals I was originally interested in; river otter, bobcat, red fox, coyote, black bear, pronghorn... basically everything but cougar.
I spend much more time outside than I otherwise would. My wife has also been very busy with grad school, which has taken us to places where I dont necessarily have nearby friends or things to do, but being able to go out and bird while she studies on the weekend has kept me happily occupied.
Also, I love that any trip out of town, no matter how not exotic, potentially opens up opportunities to add some lifers.

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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 10:05   #12
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I seem top have been interested in birds and wildlife in general from a very early age, so I can't actually remember how I got into it in the first place. It just seems natural. Had the quite common gradual loss of interest when discovering the opposite sex, bikes and booze, which continued into my forties. Rediscovered my love of birds on a series of boring business trips to the US. Let's face it, if you're stuck on your own in a hotel at the weekends, there are only so many alternatives that are good for your health. Finding the nearest reserve or hike was my preferred option. Now I wonder why I stopped in the first place!
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 12:01   #13
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it probably started for me when at a very young age I used to watch my old grandad feeding the Robin that frequented his windowsill. He would break up crumbs and when the robin tapped on the window he would put them out for it. From there I always took an interest in the birds that were around, particularly when I took up an interest in fishing as I loved to watch the ducks and swans on the river. I even saw a Kingfisher flash past once and remember getting so excited about that.

Once I progressed to senior school, I palled up with a lad who was also into fishing and he re-ignited my interest in birds when he suggested we go to watch the spotted flycatchers and blackcaps on his local park. I think it was the behaviours rather than plumage etc that peeked my interest at that point. Around the same time one of our teachers used to set out mist nets for ringing in the school grounds and we couldn't stay away. As we, along with a couple of other lads, were obviously interested he set up a school ornithological club, and from there we organised "official" field trips to Eyebrook reservoir, Swithland woods and other local birding spots that could be got to by bus (or parental lifts). It was at Eyebrook, aged around 14 ('74/'75) or so that I went on my first proper twitch (although is it still a twitch if it is on your local patch?) for a Kildeer (which at the time was only the 19th UK record). As we got a bit older the field trips got farther afield and our teacher would hire a minibus and we went to such places as wheeting heath and Cley.

Unfortunately Uni, followed by jobs away from home, family, mortgages etc all got in the way of my birding and it fell by the wayside, until a few years ago when I met up with my old school friend again having lost touch for several years, and he encouraged me to dust off the bins again.

Whilst I had never lost my interest and always kept feeders in the garden and my eyes peeled for birds when out on walks in the countryside, I had not actually been out on a dedicated birding trip for about 25 years. I was surprised at how quickly my recognition skills came back to me (although they never were the best to start with) and I was hooked again. I am now, older wiser and with somewhat more disposable income, desperately trying to catch up on all those lost years (albeit this year has been a bit slow for various reasons).

So really I have two beginnings of sorts, the common denominator being my old school friend who is still my birding best buddy.
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 14:34   #14
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What got me started in birding? Well, I will tell you all.

There was one day when I was picking up my mother from work, she suffers from an eye disease and can't drive. I was waiting to pick her up at the parking lot of work, when I saw an aerial fight between two peregrine falcons overhead. Fascinated by what was going on, I got out my phone and got a picture of it. It was awesome to see them fight. And then, to make it even better, one of them entered its stoop, hit the other, and knocked it clean out of the sky. It was an awesome sight.

Ever since then, I've been noticing Raptors in a lot of places whenever I drive. It got me interested in birding and looking at Birds.

Since that day, I have been birding a lot, and I have a new love for birds. I especially love taking pictures of raptors.

There was one time when I actually had to rescue a raptor that was hit by a car. Poor guy was injured severely. Before I could even think about getting him to a animal rehabilitator, he passed.

Rest in peace red tail hawk.

Well, that's how I got started in birding.

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Old Thursday 3rd October 2019, 16:52   #15
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1979 (40 years ago!) sitting on my porch (Takoma Park, Md.) I heard a bird singing, kept singing for probably an hour. It was about the most beautiful sound I had ever heard and I was determined to find out what bird it was, but had no idea how to go about it (I had no means to record it). At the time, I probably knew three birds: Cardinal, Blue Jay, and Robin. So I did some digging and found a company that supplied bird songs on tapes (no CDs then) and ordered it. I did not find that song on the tapes. Found later that it was a Carolina Wren (Carolina Wren was on the tape, but they have many songs and the one I had heard wasn't included). But the process of going through these tapes opened up the world of birds to me, and I was hooked.
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Old Monday 7th October 2019, 22:24   #16
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My beginning...

Everyone loves birds, so nothing for me to add there. When digital cameras came out circa 1998, it was very difficult to get good bird pics then. It got better in a few years, but what became obvious after some time was certain choices I faced in observing and/or photographing birds:

I could chase after more camera gear at considerable expense and weight to carry around to get those stellar images with great feather details (the small cameras don't do well on fine feathers).

Or, I could carry a smaller camera and spend more time observing with decent binoculars, which would also help me choose better/closer spots to photograph from, where the camera requirements are much less demanding.

In the end, I thought it was time to relax and observe more, and am looking forward to more of that with my new binoculars.
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Old Wednesday 9th October 2019, 06:15   #17
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Mine started when I was a kid and my parents had a bird table in the garden.

From there it grew, I joined the Y.O.C. in the early 80s and went to meetings etc with my old man.
it dropped off once I got married the first time around but now I am married again and my wife loves heading out to reserves etc and I introduced her to Bird watching & heading out to locations to just sit and wait......
We look forward to each autumn/winter when the Starling murmurations start and will head out as much are we can
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