10/11/2021 at 10:03 AM CEST
Science has shown that the abundance and diversity of birds generates happiness in humans. And also that the singing of birds and other sounds of nature, cause important benefits for health and well-being. Bird watching allows you to connect with the natural environment, increases endorphin levels (the hormones of happiness) and reduce stress. Becoming an amateur bird watcher is easy, as long as you follow some guidelines that minimize your impact on nature and the environment. These are seven tips to get started in bird watching.
01. PreparationsSEO / BirdLife points out that birdwatching should be an activity whose approach goes beyond simple observation, since there are other actions that affect habitats not so directly but are equally important. Therefore, it must be sought a development of the activity as sustainable as possible.
Before a trip to observe birds, it is convenient to document the behavior, biology and requirements of the species to be observed and the space to be visited. To face eventual setbacks it is necessary Always carry water, a first aid kit and a thermal blanket, as well as emergency telephones, of the bodies of the forest nursery and SEPRONA or the protected area that is visited.
You have to try dress in non-flashy colors. Green or earth colored garments help to blend in with vegetation. As for any activity to be carried out outdoors, it is essential wear comfortable clothes and shoes. And waterproof when needed. A cap on hand never hurts.
02. InstrumentalTo get started in bird watching no big investment required, since nothing is really needed, although a field notebook and some good ones binoculars –And light– can be of great help. So is a bird identification guide. There are them on paper and apps like Seo / BirdLife. For advanced observers a telescope is of great help.
The SEO / BirdLife app offers relevant information on the life, behavior, distribution and conservation status of the 563 species of birds that are regularly or occasionally present or have been cited in the Spanish territory. Includes routes through twenty-five enclaves of great ornithological importance. The texts are also accompanied by numerous sound and graphic resources: songs, videos, photographs, illustrations and maps.
A third element that may eventually become necessary is a Photo camera. In the market there are countless models and brands, expensive and inexpensive. The choice depends on both the money you want to invest and the photographic experience of each person.
It is convenient to investigate. It is preferable that it be reflex (interchangeable lenses), as bright as possible (to obtain good images in low light situations), that it has high shutter speeds and, very importantly, that it is durable and waterproof. It is convenient to use zoom lenses.
03. Rules of conduct
03. Rules of conductRules of conduct must also be followed. The titles of the ten chapters of the ‘Code of Ethics for Bird Watching‘by SEO / BirdLife perfectly summarizes how to behave. Various examples. The welfare of the birds comes first. The habitat must be protected. The behavior of the birds should not be altered.
Other sections include tips. Be cautious when sharing sensitive information about protected species and collaborate when you observe a situation of risk for them. You should not harass rambling species or oddities. Respect the regulations on the protection of birds at all times.
More rules. Respect the rights of farm owners and farm workers. Respect the rights of the people in the observation area and the basic safety rules. If you want to share your appointments, do it with prudence and thinking that they can improve knowledge. It is part of a sustainable tourism model that collaborates in the maintenance of bird-friendly rural environments.
04. Where to go?
04. Where to go?One of the benefits of bird watching is that you don’t have to travel far. Even in large cities dozens of bird species coexist. Any green space, any area with water works. But there are also natural spaces with observatories and itineraries.
Among the best places to practice birdwatching in Spain are the national parks of Doñana (habitat of species such as flamingo, bee-eater, black kite and 268 other species), Monfragüe (black stork, griffon vulture and short-toed eagle, among other species) and the Peaks of europe (Golden Eagle, Bearded Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Alpine Accentor or Great Spotted Woodpecker).
There are also an abundance of birds in natural parks such as those of Santoña (loons, grebes, terns and herons), Ebro Delta (flamingo, Audouin’s gull, bittern, morito, swamphen or red duck) and Sanabria Lake (robin, jay or hoopoe). And places like Gallocanta lagoon, in Aragon (common crane, eagle owl or peregrine falcon)
05. When to go out?
05. When to go out?It depends on the area and what you are looking for and whether it is resident species (present in Spain all year round) or winter or summer migratory species. For instance, up to 40,000 cranes can be seen in Gallocanta during their migrations, in February-March and October-November.
As for the time of day, the best are the first after sunrise and last before sunset. These are the busiest times, when most birds leave their roosting and roosting areas and go to feed or return.
There are exceptions, for example to see night birds. Or to observe birds of prey in flight –especially vultures–, because they prefer the central hours of the day, when the temperature rises the most. Or if you are looking for waders, they follow the rhythm of the tides: they feed at low tide and rest at high tide.
06. PrecautionsA good course of action is to approach to a safe distance and stop before any changes in bird behavior are detected. From there you have to let whatever they want to come, moving freely, says SEO / BirdLife.
The precautions must be much greater when the observation affects birds or especially sensitive moments and circumstances. For example, when birds are nesting. Never go near the nests and if you happen to be near one, you have to stay for as little time as possible. Eggs or chicks should not be caught or touched.
With the roosts, the same care should be taken as with the birds nesting or resting from their trips and not approaching them.
Breeding colony settlements are places to avoid since the nuisance to a bird can make the entire colony rise from their nests exposing eggs and chickens to serious dangers, warns the NGO.
Too extreme caution should be exercised in mating season. You should always avoid using lures or recordings to attract the attention of birds, especially if it is done repeatedly in the same place, indicates SEO / BirdLife.
Migratory birds resting or feeding at stops should not be disturbed that are making. Their condition is usually precarious and they need rest to regain strength and continue their journey; any extra activity can be fatal to them.
With storms or snowfalls, you should keep your distance from the birds, even if they don’t run away when you get close. They are probably handicapped by their weakness and the human presence on many occasions leads them to make a last effort that can be fatal.
07. Information, with a dropper
07. Information, with a dropperRevealing your exact location on social media and other community circles should be avoided. delicate areas (nests, colonies, winter or migratory concentrations), as they can cause risk situations (Egg collectors, nest snatchers, increased number of observers & mldr;).
SEO / BirdLife also adds several instructions with aspects that should always be avoided:
–The use of claims or recordings, as it can affect behavior, reproduction or attract predators.
–The use of spotlights and night lighting methods since it can affect behavior and cause discomfort due to the high sensitivity to light of nocturnal fauna.
–The use of live bait and hand feed wildlife to attract it.
–Any method of trapping or capturing for the purpose of observing or photographing them, with the exception of professionals or scientists who have the relevant authorizations.
SEO / BirdLife Code of Ethics for Bird Watching: https://www.seo.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Codigo_etico_aves_SEO_-2018.pdf
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Main photo: Unsplash