The main point of this competition is to have fun outside while learning about the wonderful birds of in your area. You can count birds in your yard or traverse the state. A team that successfully identifies 20 species in their yard and has a great time is just as important as a team that drives hundreds of miles and finds 120 species or more. By understanding the basic habitat preferences of birds “in your area”, you will know what to expect in each habitat you visit. Edges between habitat types can be particularly good places to look for birds. None of this information should be seen as the right way to do it, as most of the fun of birding is exploring on your own and finding good places and birds.
- Birds are creatures of habitat:
The more habitats you visit, the more bird species you will find. Many species are only found in specific habitats, and if you don’t visit these sites, you won’t find the birds. Therefore, as you plan where to go, try to include as many different types of habitats as possible such as ponds, lakes, streams, pine forests, hardwood forests, fields, wetlands, etc. By understanding the basic habitat preferences of our birds, you will know what to expect in each habitat you visit. Edges between habitat types can be particularly good places to look for birds.
- Birds are also creatures of habit:
It is helpful to know what to expect in TIME OF YEAR in STATE/CITY/WILDLIFE AREA. NOTE: R4B can provide you with custom checklists for your R4B geographic area and time of year.
- The more you know, the more you will find:
It goes without saying that the more you know about the birds, the more you will find. You will learn to make identifications with just a quick look, or even by the song alone. This type of skill takes time to develop however, so don’t get frustrated. Instead, take advantage of your team mentor and training days designed to help you develop these skills. Just as important, get outside on your own with binoculars and a field guide, and practice. Don’t stop once you have identified a bird. Studying behavior can be a great way to learn more about a bird and will help you identify it more quickly the next time you see it.
- Take advantage of easily available birding resources:
SEE: More Birding Resources or consult your Mentors.