Start in your own backyard, or the nearest park. You will be surprise what you find when you start looking. I use to think there were only pigeons, seagulls, and sparrows in my neighborhood. Now I see crows, blue jays, and an occasional hawk. A visit to the local park uncovered ducks and geese, while a trip to the beach showed cranes and storks.
From here start to recognize the details. Use a field guide to understand the difference between a duck and a mallard. Get in close and watch how they interact with each other. Binoculars bring birds in tall trees closer for easier identification.
Looking for water fowl? See if you live in a marshlands or wetlands area. Madrona Marsh, in Torrance, California, is smack in the middle of town! Madrona Marsh preserves a 10 arch vernal marsh, an alkaline margin, a back dune system, and vernal pools. It is a valuable habitat for birds, insects, reptiles, and small mammals. Ducks, coots, redwinged blackbirds, meadowlarks, shrikes, finches, warblers, and hawks are the bird inhabitants.
Venturing further out, plan a day-trip to your local mountains. Depending upon your location in this great country, you will find larger birds, such as, hawks and eagles. Bats and vultures may also inhabit your local. For hawks and eagles, bring a picnic lunch and choose a location with wide-open skies. Take care so they don't swoop down steal your food! Bats are visible at night and can carry rabies, which can be fatal to humans. Learn more at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The National Wildlife Refuge System manages wildlife sanctuarys thoughout the United States. J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, Florida is a popular spot to observe Roseate Spoonbills, Night Heron, Little Blue Heron, White Ibis, Reddish Egret, and Tri-Colored Heron
If you have a favorite birding spot, send us a detailed description including city, state, what to bring, what to look for, and what cautions to take. If approved, we will post your review along with your name and web address. Use our contact form to let us know about your bird watching location.