Start Your Sandhills Bird Watching Adventure: Birding for Beginners

Posted by on Aug 10, 2015 in Bird Watching, Blog | Comments Off on Start Your Sandhills Bird Watching Adventure: Birding for Beginners

bird_1AThere’s something special about birding. Maybe it’s the science of it. Maybe it’s the poetry you can experience while viewing your first rare bird. Maybe it’s just the quiet reflection you have during your quest. Essentially, birding is a lifelong scavenger hunt, and you can play the game across the entire globe. Sandhills bird watching offers some great viewing opportunities for the Sandhills Crane migration and the Sharptailed Grouse and Prairie Chicken mating ritual just to name a few. Birding can be a wonderful—and sometimes life-changing—experience. You don’t have to wait for someone to invite you to join in on the fun. If you’ve always loved birds but never known how to actually make the leap, here’s how to begin your Sandhills bird watching adventure.


There won’t be a final exam, but you can begin your Sandhills bird watching experience by learning as much as possible before you start. Birding doesn’t require to you to hang up your skis or mountain bikes because of an aching body. You can enjoy birding as long as you can walk, roll, or look out a window. However, it’s important to take a moment to learn about what you’re getting into. Getting your hands on a field guide will go a long way in helping start your birding career. Any book will do as long as it has pictures of each bird and maps of their range. You don’t need to study this book cover to cover, but keep it in a place where you’ll be able to leisurely flip through it for a couple minutes each day. What are the different kinds of birds? Where do they live, and in what seasons? At this point, don’t worry at this point about how to identify anything, simply focus on figuring out what and where the birds are. In addition to your field guide, learn some things about avian biology and the sport of birding. Why are birds the way they are? How did they evolve into such magnificent creatures? In learning all you can about birds, you increase your excitement for birding. That excitement will only grow as you begin your birding career.

Get the Right Gear

One of the great things about birding is how little equipment you need to actually do it. For the beginners, all you really need to get started is something to hold to the eye to make those far-away little birds a bit bigger. Starting off, you don’t really don’t need to worry about what kind of binoculars you’re using. Use whatever you can get ahold of. For the beginning birder, it’ll be enough. If they do the job and make things far away seem closer, use them.

That’s it!  Some form of binoculars and the field guide you bought earlier are plenty to get started.  As you get better, you may want to invest in a nice camera or a spotting scope (for the really far-off birds), but they’re by no means required.

Start Exploring

Once you’re equipped with the basics, it’s time to actually get outside. The first experience is the most important. If you’re overwhelmed, or you don’t quite “get” what you’re supposed to be doing, you may not return for a second chance. So, just like any good outdoor adventure, start with a plan.

One of the best ways to start your plan is by simply picking a bird and finding it. Use the field guide you purchased and pick a bird you’ve never seen before—one that you’re reasonably sure lives nearby at that time of year—and go find it.  There are a lot of resources you can use to determine what birds have been seen nearby, from smartphone apps and local birding forums. Now all you have to do is simply go out into the actual world and start looking until you find it. The sense of accomplishment you’ll feel when the bird you’ve chosen suddenly flapping, paddling, or sitting in front of you, or watching a Sandhill Crane migration, is what birding is all about. Whether you’re in the Sandhills bird watching, or at the far corners of the globe, you’ll recapture that feeling with every new species you find.

Find Others


sandhill-crane-flying-close-upAfter you’ve gone on your first birding trip, there are many ways to proceed, and many of them will come naturally once you’ve started. Birding can be a relaxing solo walk in the woods garnished with bird sightings. However, birding can also be a social endeavor. One of the best ways to gain birding experience is to learn is from other people (going with a group to watch the Sharptailed Grouse and Prairie chicken mating ritual is a Sandhills bird watching site to behold)! Find local and national birding communities online and sign up for email lists for your area. That way, you can get emails that will tell you what people have been seeing, announce local bird outings, and connect you with members of your local birding club.

Birding can be an amazing experience, and because it’s so simple, anyone can do it. The Sandhills Motel & Glidden Canoe Rental offers a great place to stay during your Sandhills bird watching adventure and has an excellent knowledge of the Sandhills Cranes, Sharptailed Grouse, and Prairie Chickens. Contact us at (308) 546-2206 for more information on fall birding tours or visit our contact page to email us any questions. Like Us on Facebook and stay connected for your next birding adventure.