Best Time of Day for Bird Watching

In summary Birding time the best time of the day for bird watching includes but not limited to the following
• Depend on the type of habitat being visited
• Waterfowl and waders are best watch late afternoon
• Dawn and dusks offers the best time to hear bird singing
• Go birding when air is till cool
• Go bird watching when birds come to roost , late evening
• Water birds activities are sometimes controlled by the tides such as waders.
• Nocturnal birds such as owls, frogmouths, nighthawks etc can be watched at night
• When birds come roosting isn’t the best time of bird photography
• Most birds feeds in the morning, give opportunity to watch.

African open-billed stork
African open-billed stork

“Is it possible to do birding at any time of the day?”, I was once asked by a school going child interested in bird watching activities, I then asked the child the best time of the day he thinks birds can be found but the response was that you can watch birds at anytime even at night. The young child mentioned night then I was like is this a joke or the child has stopped thinking but when asked why birding at night the response was that birds are sleeping and you’re able to use night vision binoculars to see and photograph sleeping birds. Yes the child was right but watching birds during night hours without aiding equipments such as night vision binoculars isn’t possible with bare naked eyes and a birder has to prepare adequately during the day for the twitching exercise to be effective at night. You can’t go out at night looking for birds in the wilderness but you can only manage to observe birds roosting at a particular spot meaning you must have a prior knowledge of the whereabouts of the particular bird you’re following

best time of the day for birding

Yes birds can be watched at anytime of the day, but there are some best times of the day for watching birds if you want to observe as many birds as possible. The best time to go out birding is during morning hours, during morning sessions birds are very active and have energy to move from one shrub to another or from one watery spot to the next. In the morning insects are also active and can be spotted easily by birds, it’s a food chain of activity as insects move around to look for food buts are also doing the same. The weather is just perfect and birds spend less energy moving around, morning hours may start as early before sunrise to around 10a.m or mid day. You will have all the energy required to do walk, take bird’s photographs and notes without too much light disturbances. When the sun start getting hotter your birding activity is affected in many ways as you can’t move long distance following any particular bird, spotting birds isn’t easy and taking clear photos is very difficult. You might spend a lot of energy past morning hours with little results instead birders need to take breaks at this moment waiting for better times. Early morning you can spot birds species such as robin chat, sunbirds, thrush among others and this the time you’ll hear so many bird calling and expect to hear robin chat, common drogo if these species are within your birding habitat.
black crake in yala swamp

Other than sunrise hours, the best time of the day to watch birds is in the evening when birds are active searching for foods. Weather is also favorable as the sun settle down and with this you can watch as many bird species as possible with better photographs of the birds too. It’s at these hours that birds are preparing to roost creating opportunities to capture birds in their roosting site. To have a wonderful evening birding, consider carrying with you a night vision binocular and a camera. Don’t extend your evening birding into darkness without aiding equipments, if you try this you are likely going to disturb birds with flash light cameras and remember birds don’t see at night creating room for the predators to prey on the disturb birds. Other than predators birds may run into electric wires or other objects causing injuries or ultimately dying and as a birder the least is to see a bird getting injured or dying. During birding times you may come across injured birds, how to handle injured birds to avoid further injuries is necessarily.

Avoid watching birds when it’s raining as your chances of see but is almost equal to zero, when raining birds are taking cover in nest and shrubs but if you have insect flying you might be lucky to spot species such as fly catchers, swallows among other insect feeding birds. With rains you’re likely to have more trouble and exposing yourself to a lot of disturbances, unless you have a water proof binocular, a waterproof camera and a notebook. Without those specialized birding equipment you’re mostly likely to damage your birding gears and guides. Avoid venturing into hot sun watching birds, actually this the worst time to expect birds in the open or feeding.
So the best time to watch birds in the day are either in the morning or evening hours and always equip yourself with birding binoculars and bird guides such as books, bird checklist, photographing camera, notebooks among other aiding birding equipments. Habitats will also dictate your birding schedule, watching birds in a thick forest isn’t possible in the early morning as snow and foggy weather will interferes with your visibility, to have a good birding day in such habitats you can go out during late morning to mid days when the sun is reaching the places.

How to Conduct a Successful World Migratory Bird Day Celebration

migratory bird day
Birding during wind 2018
It’s always a dream for any birder to get a glimpse of as many birds as possible during birding time. World Migratory bird Day is a day set aside to mark the importance of birds migrating from one place to the other, these birds don’t just fly but do so for a reason.
Birds are also known as environment bio indicators assisting researchers, scientists and others detect changes that are about to or happening within a locality. We’ll look at why birds migrate later but let’s get back to the main center of discussion. Conducting WMBD sometimes isn’t easy and many twitchers don’t take part in this important event. How do you I then get involved:

1. Get yourself involved with a bird watching community around you.
This the most easiest way to take part in the celebration, scan around for community coming together to celebrate as this will take you little effort in organizing the event but will join the already planned activity. These communities includes individuals, community based organizations, faith based organization and other civil societies, these groups have what it’s take interm of resources to hold an amazing event.
It’s always amazing to be a team of birders going out looking for birds, the team learn a lot from one another and you will get to count and observed many bird species and be ready for a lifer. The other benefit being in an organized group you are able to access other bird watching cameras for great photo taking, best binoculars and other aiding equipment.
In a group you’ll always have a resourceful birder with years of skills, as a newbie or someone gaining knowledge it’s in your best interest to have these birders mentor you even just for a day as you may not get such an opportunity to meet these great people, always maximise when an opportunity presents itself. As a birder you need some skills to take great snapshots you may be lucky to have a skillful photographer guide you on basic in using camera, different cameras will be at your disposal as this will help you decide on which photographing camera and binoculars to go for.

Birding without knowing where to spot certain bird species is very frustrating, in a group you’ll get a guide from among the birders familiar with the area, this will enable the team to spot as many bird species as possible within a short time. I remember during our bird watching session looking for a papyrus gonolek only to move roound and spot the bird on the starting point.
2. Organize WMBD as an individual or group and invite people
This the most tasking and time consuming way to celebrate the event, you take the lead ensuring everything goes as planned.
Below is a list of things to do
a. Decide on the right date – WMBD is always celebrated on 12/5/ every year, if you find this day okay then it’s better to have it on 12th but at times it’s fall on a day that the invited people aren’t able to attend, with this as an organizer you decide on the best date. It always recommended to either have it a few days like two days before the event or 2 days after the designated dates.

b. Identify the venue
Once you’ve known the day and date it’s now time to look for a venue, consideration should be on accessibility, are invited people able to reach your venue without major challenges, is there a site where visitors can go birding in the morning or at any time

c. List all potential guest to invite.
Potential guest to invite are birders willing to take part, community members who are to be sensitive about the importance of birds, government representative especially wildlife and tourism department to promote avotourism among other stakeholders

d. Do a budget for the event
Any event requires some resources be it financial or materials and WMBD is no exception. You’ll need both book guides, watching gears such as binoculars, cameras among other things. These items can be donated by interested parties willing to support the event. Some basic bird watching materials must be available to help newbie interested in birds.

Financial assistance will help do publicity of the event to create more awareness, we have various ways to publicize an activity but the best and most effective is the use word of mouth. You can also use other means such as community forums, radios among others but these are costly at times.

e. Draft an invitation letter and a resource support request
Your invitation letter should briefly explain the purpose of the invite and why you think they should attend. Here you have to explain about more about WMBD and the importance of birds, in your letter remember to include itinerary of activities.
Your financial request should be seperate from the invite and should contain breakdown of the budget and where you need assistance, be specific with each potential sponsor on what you want them to contribute.Also include other sources of funding to help them know other partners already onboard and their support.

f. Constitute a team
An event to be successful there has to be a team of people working together, have a small team with specific tasks. Some of the tasks your team members can be responsible include distribution of flyers and materials, invitation and follow to visitors, request for financial and item support, birding team leader responsible for birding equipment and guiding guest during bird watching time

g. Draft Itinerary program with your team.
An event program must be done and attached to the invite and resources request letter. A sample program should have time, activity and responsibility section. You can use this sample as a guide when drafting your program.
Time. Activity. Responsible
0600-01000 Morning birding James

1030-12000 Introduction remarks. Organizers team leader

12000-01000-Migration history community elder or any person

02000-03000 Entertainment Various performance groups

04000-05000 Speeches from guest invited guests
05000-06000- Speech from Chief guest

07000 Vote of thanks. organizers team leader

Modify the program to suit your audience and invited persons