Looking For Safe, Outdoor Fun During Difficult Days? Try Birding
You may be an avid world traveler, and while staying safe and close to home, you may feel stuck as you hunker down.
But you can get outside. Spending time in nature can also be a form of social distancing, if you’re careful, and plan ahead.
In open spaces you can avoid close contact with others, yet be out and about. You can seek out empty spaces to walk, bike, scoot, run, jog, sit on a bench. And with spring migration coming, you might consider taking part in one of the most popular recreational activities in the world: birding.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that about fifty million Americans watch birds. You need minimum equipment and moderate athletic skill. Basically you observe with the naked eye, or through binoculars and telescopes, or by listening for bird sounds. Most birders note the feathered friends they have observed, and communicate and compare their experiences with other birders.
Scientific evidence from the Audubon Society shows that the focus on, and contact with nature can ease anxiety, and provide an all-around mood boost and a calming influence. As I’ve traveled the world I’ve noticed the joy of birders in their endeavors: binos and notepads at the ready, focusing on nature and spotting their prizes, rare or otherwise. And today, the ecology element, preserving woodlands and wetlands, is an increasing interest as well.
To keep your distance, just avoid birding with a group. You can walk to an uncrowded neighborhood park, or drive yourself to a nearby woods or beach. Or if you don’t want to leave home, just gaze out your window and closely observe the birds you see around your premises.
To see more, put up a feeder and place a birdbath. As you adjust to your work-from-home setup, take breaks to look out the window rather than just stare at the TV screen. And if you don’t want to put up a feeder, or don’t see many birds at your window, you can now birdwatch by watching public webcams.
To begin the birding experience, learn these common species, then download Audubon’s free Bird Guide app to explore further, and keep track of what you see out there.
Birding can help to get you through the next months, and may become a great hobby for life. And remember that eventually you can travel the world to add loads more exotic birds to your list.
Contributor: lea Lane