Where to find the best birding tools: Binoculars, houses, baths and more

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — Birdwatching is a growing hobby. According to a 2016 survey by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, about 45 million birders (16 years or older), or about 20% of the U.S. population, take up the hobby. These numbers could now be higher as more people have been enjoying outdoor activity during the pandemic.

The beauty of birdwatching is its versatility. This can be done in the countryside or in the city. It can be done in your garden or on an exotic vacation. It has universal appeal. More than 440 birds are on Ohio’s official species list, with 200 species regularly breeding here.

With equipment and travel, birding can be complicated and expensive. Or with a few backyard additions, it can be easy and inexpensive. Perhaps the most useful tools are binoculars and bird guides. And, maybe, cameras. And nesting boxes, baths… and more. Once you’re hooked, the list of supplies grows.

Check out a roundup of the best birding products below.

Field guides and apps are popular for educating beginners. Both new and experienced birders enjoy Merlin, an app developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, for its sounds and range maps. BirdNet, another popular app, has additional benefits. Users can record a bird song and the app identifies the bird.

Note: This may not be the right time to add or use bird feeders given the outbreak of avian flu.

Read on for garden and travel tools for beginners and experienced birders.

Binoculars

These Adorrgon binoculars provide brighter vision even in low light conditions. (Courtesy of Amazon)

These powerful, lightweight and waterproof Adorrgon binoculars ($49.86, originally $99.89) come with a phone adapter and tripod. They are versatile and allow you to take pictures when you find something special.

Binocular Bird Watching Camera

These easy to use binoculars are combined with video and camera technology. (Courtesy of Sharper Image)

Use the 12X Zoom Digital Camera Binoculars ($199) for a closer view of the birds and capture the images in high definition.

Bird Watching Binoculars for Kids

Available in green and yellow, these waterproof rubber binoculars are perfect for children. (Courtesy of Amazon)

Take the kids out with these small, compact, high-definition binoculars ($19.99). Encourage their interest in the outdoors, the environment and science.

Hontry Bird Watching Binoculars

These versatile binoculars work for bird watching as well as sporting events, theater and concerts. (Courtesy of Amazon)

These entry-level Hontry binoculars ($29.75) are designed to comfortably fit your budget and your face. The ergonomic design and stable grip make it easy to focus and can be folded into the palm of your hand for easy transport.

Traditional binoculars

Sharp imaging reduces reflection loss and increases light transmission to increase sharpness, contrast and color brightness. (Courtesy of Walmart)

Waterproof and powerful, the magnifying power of the Bissot 20×50 Binoculars for Adults ($39.99), helps you see the feathers and features of the smallest birds.

Binoculars are available in a wide range of prices and capacities

Bird Watching Books

Bird Watching Guide

The authors of the Backyard Guide have extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of the field. (Courtesy of Amazon)

The best-selling five-star backyard guide, National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Birds of North America, 2nd Edition ($16.97), is written for both casual and experienced birders. It includes 150 of the most common and interesting birds in North America.

Guide to Birding in the Midwest

Author and ornithological authority, Bill Thompson III is editor of Bird Watcher’s Digest. (Courtesy of Amazon)

Get to know the 55 most common birds of the Midwest in Midwestern Birds: Backyard Guide ($10.28). You will learn about local bird watching, feeding and landscaping.

Find backyard guides for other parts of the United States

Bird Watching Songs Guide

Bird Songs offers information and illustrations on some of North America’s most notable birds, including the rediscovered ivory-billed woodpecker. (Courtesy of Amazon)

In Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song ($29.90), author and ornithologist Les Beletsky describes 250 birds. The books come with a digital audio player that plays a song for each bird.

birding journal

Keep track of your birding activities with this journal. (Courtesy of Amazon)

My Birding Journal: A Birding Journal for Birders and Bird Watchers ($12.99 hardcover) makes a great gift for bird lovers. They can record, even draw, what they see.

The research possibilities are endless. Check out these books.

Nesting boxes and nesting material

Birdwatching, birdhouse

This small wooden birdhouse looks great in any garden. (Courtesy of Amazon)

Start with your basic wooden birdhouse ($18.99) to attract wrens and finches. You can paint the exterior of this tiny house to match your personal aesthetic.

Nest box for bird watching 2

The size of the hole in this simple pine birdhouse is suitable for many songbirds. (Courtesy of Walmart)

Use the included suction cups to mount this Conservation Window Birdhouse ($19.99) to a house window. Then watch the birds through the transparent back panel as they go through the nesting cycle.

Birdhouse blue birds

Bluebirds appreciate the features of this custom home. (Courtesy of Amazon)

Bluebirds are back from the brink of extinction. This sturdy, weather-resistant Bluebird House ($29.99) has plenty of vents and opens easily for annual cleanings.

Ornithological condo

This eight unit birdhouse condo comes in several color accents. (Courtesy of Wayfair)

If you live near water, the Kalene Birdhouse Condo ($252.99) is a great way to attract and house Purple Swallows. These members of the swallow family depend on human-provided housing. They eat flying insects during the day.

Nesting material for bird watching

Hummingbirds appreciate the supply of alpaca fibers to build their little nests. (Courtesy of Amazon)

Hummingbirds use soft fibers to build their nests. Hang this wire nesting heart ($15.99) to attract and provide materials to local birds. Place it near a feeder for best effect.

Backyard Birdbath

bird bath

Heavy cast iron holds this birdbath in place. (Courtesy of Amazon)

Watch the birds bathe in your backyard in a cast iron pedestal birdbath ($89.99). Ornate leaf embossing and two bronze bird figurines attached to the edge make this garden art.

Bird bath for birdwatching 2

Birds will drink and bathe in this sturdy and decorative birdbath.

Sunnydaze Bird Bath ($219) is a fiberglass-reinforced concrete sculpture that adds an elegant touch to your patio, yard, or garden.

Bird bath for bird watching 3

Keep an eye out for birds that appreciate a freshwater bath. (Courtesy of Amazon)

This Red Ceramic Pedestal Birdbath with Two Bird Figurines ($76.28) has a shallow, wide bowl that provides plenty of room for several small birds to drink and bathe together.

Delight your feathered friends with a birdbath

Clothes

Bird Watching Hoodie

Fly your bird nerd flag with this hoodie. (Courtesy of Amazon)

Let the world know you’re a birder with the Easy Distracted by Birds Hoodie ($28.95). The cotton/polyester top is available in several colors.

birdwatching t-shirt

The smartest will understand. (Courtesy of Amazon)

To borrow (and twist) a line from “Game of Thrones,” pick up this “I watch birds and I know things” t-shirt ($17.99).

Bird Lady Bird Watching T-Shirt

The Crazy Bird Lady tshirt is available in several colors. (Courtesy of Amazon)

Who needs cats? ! Wear a Crazy Bird Lady t-shirt ($15.99) to the next hike in the woods.

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