With so many different types of birds out there, learning to recognize them can seem impossible. But bird watching isn't just for experts. It just takes time, practice, and some gear. Compared to some other hobbies, bird watching is simple and it's easy to get started. If you're thinking about becoming a birder, there are several questions you may have:
Do you have a birdlist?
How do I identify birds?
Birders, when seeing an unfamiliar bird, may ask the following questions:
Use the "What Bird Was That?" page to help identify some of the birds of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.
What field guide should I get?
Following are guides that you may want to consider:
Do I need to keep a field notebook or lists of birds I see?
Keeping lists is an enjoyable way of recording which birds you see, but isn't necessary. Some birders keep a "Backyard List," only the birds seen in their backyard. Others keep lists for their county, country, or even "Life Lists," which records every bird they see without regards to geographic boundaries.
Do I need binoculars?
Binoculars are important for identifying birds. Without them it is often difficult to see distant birds or tiny details on closer birds. Camera or specialty bird stores are good places to examine many different binoculars and to get good advice.
When choosing a pair of binoculars, consider the following:
Did You Know?
At Lake Itasca, the elevation of the Mississippi River is 1,475 feet above sea level. It drops to sea level at the Gulf of Mexico. More than half of that drop occurs within the state of Minnesota.