Birding in the Chicago Region


If you want to start birding but don't know where to start, you've come to the right place! Here you can find a list of tips, tricks, and supplies you will need to start birding!


First thing is first - read the Principles of birding ethics. These are guidelines and rules set by the American Birding Association.


Next you will need some gear. A set of binoculars or a scope is a must. Now, binoculars range in price from $75 to $2000. As a beginner, you want something at the lower end of the range to start off with. Now once you get more experienced you can get better binoculars that have more focus and clarity. A good 7.5 or 8-power pair would be good for a beginning birder. Get Comfortable With Your Binoculars. Before you go birding, make sure you know how to use your binoculars - practice! Don't try to locate the bird with your binoculars. First find the bird with your unaided eye, then keep your eyes on the bird while you raise the binoculars to your face. Focus and enjoy.


Next you will need a bird field guide. If you prefer an online version here are a few What bird , Illinois Raptor Center , Birdzilla. If you prefer books these are some good ones From Amazon - Birds of Illinois, Backyard Birds, and Birds of Chicago.


Now you will need something to take notes on. A sturdy notepad or notebook is very useful. If you are adventurous and like to go out no matter what whether, a rite in the rain journal is very useful. When you write in pencil and it is rainy or wet out, the writing won't smudge like a typical pen and paper would.


Now you have your field guide, you have your binocular and journal, now where do you start looking for birds? If you have an active backyard, start there. It is close and easy to observe. You can move to local parks and forest preserves as well. Want to see migratory birds? Chicago is a great hub for migratory birds. Spring and fall are great times to see some amazing birds in different habitats. A list of migrtory and other birding sites. BCN is a great place to start a monitoring job, Some migration birds  sites and Hyde Park has great birding locations.


Once you feel ready, go out and enjoy nature!


If you want to read more on birding check out these links. Birding BasicsCornell Lab Birding Basics


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