BIRD WATCHING ON PRESQUE ISLE – – How to become a Birder in just a few easy steps – Part # 2

March 23, 2013 7:26 am Published by Leave your thoughts


Feeding Time Blue Birds - Brian Berchtold

Feeding Time Barn Swallows – Brian Berchtold

In the last blog I covered ten reasons you might like to become a bird watcher.   With Presque Isle right here on our doorstep you have one of the country’s best areas to get a start.  With this blog, I hope to suggest just a few steps that can get you started.   I know from talking to some of you that you are more than a little curious about birding and how to get started.  Perhaps you are interested yourself, or maybe a child or spouse is interested in birds.   It is really easy to give the bird watching hobby a try.

Here are a few steps that can get you on your way:

1.   Get a bird guide.  Take a little time and look through it before you ever leave the house.  Actually, your own backyard can provide a great starting point for your adventure into birding.   A word of advice –  do not try to memorize all the birds.   The better way to start is to learn a bit about bird families (raptors, warblers, swallows, herons, ducks, etc,).   This will help you narrow down  you interests when you walk out into your yard or Presque Isle.

Swan Fanily - Brian Berchtold

Swan Fanily – Brian Berchtold

You will quickly find that many of your sightings will start with a fleeting view of a quick flying bird.  Usually they move by quite fast, and your first adventure will be to recognize the prominent features of the bird you saw.

                   What was its shape?   (long, round, small, etc.)

                   What it doing?    (  looking for insects,  soaring,   hopping on the ground, etc.)

                   What was its color?   (Yellow, red, tan, etc,)

                   Did it have any distinctive markings?   ( Red tipped feathers, yellow feet, etc.)

                   What sounds is it making?

                   Where did you see it?  (In the woods, on a pond, high in a tree, etc.)

  Presque Isle Turkey - - E Ware

Presque Isle Turkey – – E Ware

Any good field guide book will give you most of the information you might need to get started.   Two wonderful books are by local author Robert Grubbs and are available at the Nature Shop at TREC.   The books are:  PRESQUE ISLE -Naturally,  and  A Field Guide to the BIRDS OF PRESQUE ISLE.   Both are packed with pictures and information on our local birds.

2.   Ger a set of binoculars.     I think most first timers should borrow a FEW sets to try them and see which ones are better for you.  I like rather large sets or a spoting scope, my wife likes the smaller sets.    Once you have determined which kind is right for you, you can buy a set.

       Look for sets that are waterproof (Yes, it does rain when you are out in the field), focus easily, and have at least 8x magnification.    I also like binoculars that have a 30 x 42 mm front lens,      So if you see at set that has 8 x 32  or maybe 10 x 42, those will work just fine.

   Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

        3.    Begin to take regular walks.   The P.I. Audubon and TREC have regular walks, so get their schedules on their websites and go along.   Do walks on your own  and even  introduce yourself to a birdwatcher you see on Presque Isle.   Most of them would be happy to get you started in this wonderful activity.

4.    Use the Internet to gather information.    Go to The Presque Isle Audubon website to see what is going on with birds in the area.    Keep your eye on this blog for information or to send me requests.   When you do see a particular bird, go on-line to gather more complete information.     A good site to visit is   Another website that can be a help is

One thing you will find on all sites about birds, our natural jewel, is that Presque Isle is a great place to start and continue a new and wonderful hobby.

Goshawk on Presque Isle - - Bob Harris

Goshawk on Presque Isle – – Bob Harris

          SEE YOU ON THE PARK!!



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