5 Reasons You Should Start Birding


Isha Shah, In-Depth Writer

When COVID first hit, many wanted a hobby that they could do safely, without the fear of being near others. Many people turned to birding as a way to satisfy these needs and have fun outdoors. Not only is birding something that can be done virtually anywhere, it also fits the needs of any lifestyle making it the perfect hobby for so many. 



1. Birding aids in mental and physical health. Birding can help relieve stress and prevent depression, as it is a meditative activity. Watching birds can inspire introspection and self-examination while also promoting physical activity. Birding involves walking which improves cardiovascular health and assists with blood flow. Birding is also very mentally stimulating. As you start to learn more about birds, you will be able to identify a bird by merely its shadow or behavior within seconds! It is truly great for mental relaxation and physical activity. 


2. Birding is year-round! Many hobbies, such as snowboarding are only possible during a certain season. However, birding is a year-long hobby and each season brings changes to the birds seen. For example, during the winter months ducks are especially prevalent in Illinois. Red-Breasted Mergansers, Golden-eyes and Northern Shovelers can all be seen with ease. Then, during May, warblers come through the area and are especially interesting to watch as they flit around the canopies of the forest. These seasonal changes allow people to enjoy birding all year and give something to look forward to during each season. 


3. It gives you a chance to meet new people. One can meet some very interesting and amazing people while birding and learn invaluable lessons from these people. Birding is very much a community hobby and people build long-lasting friendships with others. In addition, birdwatchers are very amiable people and do not hesitate to help others learn more. 


4. It promotes conservation. As people start to learn more and more about birds and nature, they will realize how important it is to preserve the environment. The diversity and beauty of birds will present a new outlook on nature and its function in our lives. Birds eat pests in the garden, ensure a proper balance in the ecosystem and help us advance scientifically. As people start to spend time in nature, they are more likely to realize the importance of conservation. 


5. Birding is simple. Many people think that fancy binoculars and expensive gear are needed to start birding but in reality, birding is as simple as taking a walk outside and looking around at animals. In fact, birdwatching can be as simple as looking into your backyard and seeing a robin. Also, birding does not need to be expensive, no gear except eyes are needed to start. 


As you can see, birding really is the perfect hobby for so many reasons: it is all year, mentally and physically invigorating, social, and emphasizes preservation. And best of all, it is as simple as taking a walk outside or looking through a window to your backyard. A well-known adage in the birding community is that one will never meet an “ex-birder”.