Birdwatching: The Lives of Birds
In the previous sections, I have been writing about the way to watch and count birds and the equipment such as binoculars, field guides and field notebook that you will need. Now it is time to look at the ways birds live so that you can begin to understand what they are doing. In this website, it is only possible to give a summary of their nesting behaviour, how they are distributed, how and where they feed. I hope that the summary I give throughout this website, will introduce you to different aspects of a bird’s life and help you to understand what you see when you watch a bird.
Seeking answers about migration, breeding behaviour or biology needs patience and accuracy as well as a deep and lasting curiosity. You will develop a deeper understanding of the way birds live and behave, and the ways by which they are linked to their environment. The ecology of birds fascinates many ornithologists with different levels of scientific experience; indeed, some aspects are highly complicated and require not only the skills of a naturalist but also considerable skill as a mathematician. However, it has been well proven that there is much valuable work that we, as ordinary naturalists, can do in this field.
A few years ago when fewer people were interested in natural history and less was known about birds, it was possible for any ornithologist who wanted to concentrate on some specific study to contribute something new to our knowledge of birds. Nowadays, however, a lot more is known about the lives of birds and one has to work a great deal harder to discover something new to science. In whichever way we watch birds for many of us their study in itself gives us a great deal of pleasure and the fact that we might not produce anything new to science is less important than the fact that we are learning something for ourselves.
In order to apply some of the mechanics of bird watching that have been described, it is useful to know something of the biological and behavioural aspects of a bird’s life.