As I write this article on Black Friday, what is supposed to be the biggest shopping day of the year, I wonder how retailers will fare this holiday season with the current state of the economy. I got to thinking how inexpensive it truly is to be a birder and some of the other benefits of being a birder.
First of all, it doesn't take much to get started as a birder. You'll need a decent set of binoculars and it would also be a good idea to buy a field guide. But other than that, anything else is up to you. As far as binoculars, you can get a decent set for about $100 and a field guide should run about twenty or thirty dollars. It will be good to have a field guide as a reference to help identify what you have seen. Binoculars are a great investment as well. And, if you do become a very serious birder, you can invest in a more expensive pair of binoculars and they will hold their value for years.
You don't have to travel far at all to see birds. You can observe them as close as your back yard or by visiting your local park. And since there are almost 10,000 species of birds, many of which are endemic to certain regions, you can even plan a vacation around bird watching. Birds are everywhere and it is a hobby that can be enjoyed through every season.
Birding provides exercise and stress relief. Birding will get you outdoors and while you are focused on moving around to spot this bird or that you will probably be very surprised at how much ground you have covered without even realizing it. It is a great way to get a few miles of walking in without really thinking that you are exercising. It has also long been said that contact with nature is a great way to relieve stress. So, with the current stresses of everyday life, birding is a great way to relax and connect with nature. Leave the cell phone at home and you'll be amazed how the simple joy of birding melts away everyday tension.
Last, and by far one of the best things about birding is that it truly unites all different people. You can start to be a birder at age eight or eighty and still find it truly enjoyable. It is a great tradition that one generation can show the next but isn't too strenuous to enjoy together. So, an entire family could take part in this hobby. Not only is it great for families but it is a great way to meet people. Nearly every community has an active birding group nearby. And the majority of birders are always willing to share their knowledge and expertise. So, it is a great way to bring people together.
So what are you waiting for? Why not get involved in birding today?