Backyard bird watching is one of the most popular hobbies in the world, but if you thought you’d reached the limits it can offer, we have a whole range of add-ons that will see your enjoyment soaring!
- Turn your love of casual (or even serious) bird watching into important scientific data when you contribute to the New Zealand Bird Atlas project. The Atlas is a mammoth 5-year undertaking said to be the country’s largest citizen science effort. Running from June 1st 2019 to June 1st 2024, it calls on everyday bird watchers like you to post observations online in order to help scientists and the public better understand the bird populations we have in New Zealand. Even better, once you’ve signed up to the project, you can receive its regular newsletter, and follow progress via Facebook and Instagram.
- Join BirdingNZ.net which is open to anyone with an interest in birds. The site caters for everyone from the backyard birder to scientists and international birdwatchers. It gives up-to-the-minute information on sightings of rare and special birds via SMS alerts and twitter, as well as providing a forum where birders can get together to discuss findings, get help with identification, or ask and answer questions. Free to join!
- Real-time bird watching from your armchair is popular around the world. While many Kiwis are familiar with Royal Cam, the Department of Conservation’s 24-hour live streaming of an Otago Peninsula albatross nest during the Pukekura/Taiaroa Head breeding season, there are similar live cams in many parts of the globe. They range from bird feeding stations in Europe, the UK and North America, to a range of nesting bird sites from Australia to the Antarctic. For more live webcam sites than you ever thought possible, check out View Nesting Birds (Bird Cams). When your night turns to day, tune into the behaviour of night birds on the other side of the world. When the sun goes down in New Zealand, enjoy day bird antics in someone else’s country!
- Shout yourself an inexpensive bird identification app. A whole range of apps exist to help Kiwi birdwatchers identify their feathered friends using everything from sound bites to detailed diagrams. When choosing the one that best suits your level of interest, be sure to check out user-ratings.
- Take a bird identification course that will help you identify birds based on their songs, behaviour and seasonal habitats. The course starts with ten forest birds, many of which will be in your own backyard or which can be seen as you take a short walk around your own neighbourhood. The course is interactive, fun and rewarding, and includes listening, viewing, and taking a quiz.
- Get out the coloured pencils and learn to draw the birds you see. A host of ‘how to draw birds’ sites exist on the net. Choose one to accommodate your level of expertise, and prepare to become more observant of your feathered friends than you ever thought possible. And if you can’t persuade them to stay still while you paint their portrait, snap a shot and use it as your reference