Fun for the Birders
January 18, 2010 | Permalink
There are plenty of jokes about bird watchers, but in reality, it is a pretty fun hobby. It is also a perfect recreation for road warriors who have some time on their hands as they travel around the country.
One big advantage to birding, a term favored by practitioners of the sport (themselves called birders), is that all you really need are some outdoor clothing, a good pair of binoculars and a birding book, all of which pack easily in your luggage. Bushnell or Nikon make good, well-priced binoculars, and National Geographic has a terrific Field Guide as well as books on specific states and regions.
Birders frequent local parks and nearby wildlife reserves to view resident birds. Of course, what constitutes a “resident bird” changes based on where you travel. The California quail may be prevalent along much of the Pacific Coast, but on the Gulf Coast, you are likely to see a swallowtail kite. Road warriors, because they travel to different parts of the country, can enjoy viewing many different birds in their natural habitat.
Migratory birds, and there are plenty, are fun to watch because they travel in such large numbers. Just imagine coming upon a wetland filled with hundreds of thousands of brightly colored ducks, geese and other migratory birds.
North American migratory birds travel into the United States from either Alaska or the northern parts of Canada. They travel along four “flyways,” the same routes they use generation after generation. Because different birds follow different flyways, the more you travel to different areas, the more bird species you are likely to see.
Experts believe that migration occurs as temperatures drop or rise and as the days shorten or lengthen. Depending where you are along the migratory route, huge flocks heading south can be seen from the late fall until well into January. The reverse is found in the spring when the flocks migrate north.
Finding a good local bird-viewing place is not as hard as one might believe. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service operates the National Wildlife Refuge System. They have a wonderful website that lets you search by state or by zip code and provides information on each local refuge.
Being away from home on a business trip can be a difficult time. Having an interesting hobby that you can do almost anywhere, like birding, will make your travels at least a little easier. Many of the migratory bird viewing locations can even be accessed by car, making it a warm, comfortable experience.
Speaking of warm and comfortable, Extended Stay Hotels has nearly 700 hotels from coast to coast and parts of Canada ready to offer you large, comfortable accommodations at an exceptional rate.
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