Why do I need maps when I go birding?

This is #15 in a Series of frequently asked questions about birding.

Why do I need maps when birding?

  • So you don’t get lost, or to find your way home if you do.
  • Seriously, though, maps are an excellent way of finding good birding spots you may have otherwise missed.
  • Look for lakes, rivers, dams and reservoirs; they are often great places to see waterbirds.
  • Look for forested areas, national parks, gorges, and other areas not used for agriculture and where there is a great likelihood of plenty of natural vegetation.
  • Botanic Gardens are another great place to observe birds. The flowers and plants are a bonus.
  • Ocean beaches, estuaries, tidal mudflats and exposed sandbars are other great birding spots.
  • Learn to read the signs on a map that indicate potential good birding areas, and always be prepared to be disappointed because some great spots can let you down from time to time. Sometimes the tide is in and there are few birds. Sometimes the wind is such that the birds have gone elsewhere for shelter.
  • Have a backup plan, a site B and site C.
  • No matter how poor the conditions, you shouldn’t dip completely. In 30 years of birding I have only once recorded zero birds. It was almost dark and raining heavily, but I did see a kangaroo and an echidna. You get that.

Happy birding.


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