Birdwatching in a Pandemic-Stricken World
You’re probably spending a lot more time at home than you’re used to, doing your part to follow social distancing rules and slow the ongoing spread of covid-19. But only humans need to follow these rules—birds don’t. It’s the perfect time to start paying attention to them.
Birds around the world are in the midst of their annual dash from their wintering grounds to the habitats where they breed, stopping to rest and refuel along the way. The local birds are preparing to breed, too, singing and showing off for potential mates. Fortunately, you can witness much of this spectacle from the safety of your home. But where do you start?
First thing’s first: You gotta learn about some birds. You might already have a field guide; if not, you can download the free Audubon Bird Guide App or Cornell University’s free Merlin Bird ID, which can help you easily identify birds based on attributes like color and size. You could also shell out $20 for the Sibley Birds app, which contains lots of drawings, detailed information, multiple sound recordings, and what month each bird is scheduled to arrive in your state—for me, it’s well worth the price. Google can help you find region-specific apps (Collins Bird Guide is great for Europe). You might even consider buying a physical book; Sibley, Crossley, Peterson, and National Geographic make some of the most popular ones in the United States—just make sure you get the right one for your region.
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