photo of birding and bird photography gears
Roadside hawk taken with a Nikon Digital Camera

Essential Birding Gears

Are you into birding and wondering what’s the right travel gear you should take along for the tour? Here we toss around some basic travel gear that will not only make your birding and bird photography trip a pleasure.That being said, let’s quickly take a look at the right equipments, accessories and attire you would require.

 

Binoculars

It goes without saying you’ll need a good pair of binoculars for bird watching. Not only should they be slim & comfortable to hold but should also make birds stand out against the background so you get to view the natural colors and details.

We would suggest 10×42 or 8×42. Anything lower than 8x would not provide the details and zoom needed. Anything more than 10x would give a shaky image and would require a tripod and mount. It all depends on what you want and your preference. Generally, 8×42 is very good and gives a wider view especially for birds in bushes flitting around. The 10×42 is narrow and good for more open landscape.

Whatever you choose, stick with 10x or 8x. Test each out first before making the final decision.

Straps for binoculars

You’d never want to fumble around your backpack when you need your binoculars quickly. So, why not have binoculars straps that hold your equipment around the neck and make it easier for you to access at the time when it’s most needed.

Bird Watching Field Guide

An essential travel gear for birders, a field guide will help you sort one species from another when you’re surrounded by dozens of them. Sometimes they are very difficult to identify and the field guide goes a long way.

You can even download a few bird apps that not only allow you to look up bird species but also hear certain species’ song. It’s a great way to ID those difficult species.

Camera

Nothing can substitute a great camera for bird photography! Depending on your level, you don’t need an expensive camera. Most professional photographers will tell you that the more expensive cameras with all the extra pixels are useless. For us, Canon and Nikon are the top picks.

Camera Case

Since the weather can be unpredictable, you should always carry your camera case and other weather gear to safeguard your expensive equipment against any damage.

Camera Lens

You would need a minimum of a 400mm lens for decent bird photography. There are some good options which are affordable with brands like Sigma for the contemporary 150-600 lens.

Camera Batteries

You might also need extra camera batteries if you’re setting out for a long tour or a tour in some remote location or if you’ve decided to camp.

Hat

You’d really need a hat to prevent direct sun exposure and protect you from light drizzles at times. Please, see to it that you buy a good hat that minimises glare & makes it easier for you to observe birds without aches or eyestrain.

Hiking Shirt & Trousers

Remember you’re setting out for birding so you need to dress in neutral or earth tones so that birds don’t fly away sensing invaders. Also, make sure the hiking shirt and trousers you slip into must be comfortable, durable, and water repellent.

Fleece

Well, you never know when it turns cold in the greens so you may need an extra layer to combat those chilling winds and weather especially in areas like the Andes in South America.

Hiking Shoes

You’ll need comfortable yet an aggressive sole along with superb toe protection while you’re bird watching. Moreover, it should be fully waterproof so that your feet remain dry and protected during unexpected rains.

Daypack

If you’re on a multi-day birding or bird photography trip and will be staying out for long periods, you’ll certainly need a good daypack that can effectively hold your essentials like a jacket, recyclable water bottle, camera batteries, meals and other items.

Also, make sure that it’s waterproof!

Conservation  

Finally, this won’t be something you will need, but we ask that you keep the natural environment in mind while on any bird watching trip or during bird photography. As far as you can, please remember to use recyclable water bottles (preferably glass), meals in reusable containers and environmentally friendly products wherever you can. Remember to respect bird and wildlife habitat during photography. Keep in mind we are all visitors to their sanctuaries.