Birding Basics

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The best part about birding is that it can be done anywhere, in the most urban part of Los Angeles or in the most secluded park in California. It’s a great way to get people into nature, even in their own backyards. Birding can be a fun and interactive activity for people of all ages because of the versatility of it. Beginners can learn a lot using binoculars for the first time while more advanced birders learn about bird behavior and patterns. No matter your age or skill level, these tips can help you achieve your birding goals:

  • Recognize bird behavior: A vital part of birding and bird surveys is understanding bird behavior. Looking for signs of feeding, courting, nesting and distress will help in your birding. Watching an adult bird return to one tree or bush several times with food reveals that there is a nest with chicks. Birds will show the observer the story when you pay attention.
  • Look and listen: Many people think that birding is strictly using our eyes but often we can get the same, if not better information, when we listen to the birds around us. Loud crows could lead you to a perched hawk or owl that you may have otherwise not seen.
  • Be patient: Wildlife will seldom do what you want it to do. However, having patience when birding will help you to key into your surroundings and notice more activity than if you rushed through the activity.
  • Attend a local bird event: A great way to get more information about birds in your area is to attend a local event. Friends of Griffith Park hold many great, educational birding events throughout the year with local experts.
  • Pick up a local guide: Think of this as a cheat sheet. Parks usually have the most common local bird species listed in a free guide that can help to narrow down species you’ll see when you’re out birding. Friends has one for Griffith Park on their website.

~Courtney McCammon, biologist

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