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Abert’s Towhee Acadian Flycatcher Acorn Woodpecker Alder Flycatcher Allen’s Hummingbird Altamira Oriole American Avocet American Bittern American Black Duck American Coot American Crow American Dipper American Golden-Plover American Goldfinch American Kestrel American Oystercatcher American Pipit American Redstart American Robin American Three-toed Woodpecker American Tree Sparrows American White Pelican American Wigeon American Woodcock Anhinga Anna’s Hummingbird Arctic Tern Arizona Woodpecker Ash-Throated Flycatcher Atlantic Puffin Audubon’s Oriole Bachman’s Sparrow Baird’s Sandpiper Baird’s Sparrow Bald Eagle Baltimore Oriole Band-tailed Pigeon Bank Swallow Barn Owl Barn Swallow Barred Owl Barrow’s Goldeneye Bay-breasted Warbler Bell’s Vireo Belted Kingfisher Bendire’s Thrasher Bewick’s Wren Black Guillemot Black Oystercatcher Black Phoebe Black Rail Black Rosy-Finch Black Scoter Black Skimmer Black Swift Black Tern Black Turnstone Black Vulture Black-and-white Warbler Black-backed Woodpecker Black-bellied Plover Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Black-billed Cuckoo Black-billed Magpie Black-capped Chickadee Black-capped Vireo Black-chinned Hummingbird Black-chinned Sparrow Black-crested Titmouse Black-crowned Night-Heron Black-footed Albatross Black-headed Grosbeak Black-legged Kittiwake Black-necked Stilt Black-throated Blue Warbler Black-throated Gray Warbler Black-throated Green Warbler Black-throated Sparrow Blackburnian Warbler Blackpoll Warbler Blue Grosbeak Blue Jay Blue-footed Booby Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Blue-headed Vireo Blue-throated Hummingbird Blue-winged Teal Blue-winged Warbler Boat-tailed Grackle Bobolink Bohemian Waxwing Bonaparte’s Gull Boreal Chickadee Boreal Owl Botteri’s Sparrow Brandt’s Cormorant Brant Brewer’s Blackbird Brewer’s Sparrow Bridled Titmouse Broad-billed Hummingbird Broad-tailed Hummingbird Broad-winged Hawk Bronzed Cowbird Brown Booby Brown Creeper Brown Pelican Brown Thrasher Brown-capped Rosy-Finch Brown-headed Cowbird Brown-headed Nuthatch Buff-bellied Hummingbird Buff-breasted Flycatcher Buff-breasted Sandpiper Bufflehead Bullock’s Oriole Burrowing Owl Bushtit Cackling Goose Cactus Wren California Condor California Gull California Quail California Thrasher California Towhee Calliope Hummingbird Canada Goose Canada Jay (Previously Gray Jay) Canada Warbler Canvasback Canyon Towhee Canyon Wren Cape May Warbler Carolina Chickadee Carolina Wren Caspian Tern Cassin’s Auklet Cassin’s Finch Cassin’s Kingbird Cassin’s Sparrow Cassin’s Vireo Cattle Egret Cave Swallow Cedar Waxwing Cerulean Warbler Chestnut-backed Chickadee Chestnut-collared Longspur Chestnut-sided Warbler Chihuahuan Raven Chimney Swift Chipping Sparrow Chuck-will’s-widow Chukar Cinnamon Teal Clapper Rail Clark’s Grebe Clark’s Nutcracker Clay-colored Sparrow Cliff Swallow Colima Warbler Common Eider Common Gallinule Common Goldeneye Common Grackle Common Ground-Dove Common Loon Common Merganser Common Murre Common Nighthawk Common Pauraque Common Poorwill Common Raven Common Redpoll Common Tern Common Yellowthroat Connecticut Warbler Cooper’s Hawk Cordilleran Flycatcher Costa’s Hummingbird Couch’s Kingbird Crescent-chested Warbler Crested Caracara Crissal Thrasher Curve-billed Thrasher Dark-eyed Junco Dickcissel Double-crested Cormorant Dovekie Downy Woodpecker Dunlin Dusky Flycatcher Dusky Grouse Eared Grebe Eastern Bluebird Eastern Kingbird Eastern Meadowlark Eastern Phoebe Eastern Screech-Owl Eastern Towhee Eastern Whip-poor-will Eastern Wood-Pewee Elegant Tern Elf Owl Emperor Goose Eurasian Collared-Dove Eurasian Tree Sparrow Eurasian Wigeon European Starling Evening Grosbeak Ferruginous Hawk Field Sparrow Fish Crow Flammulated Owl Florida Scrub-Jay Forster’s Tern Fox Sparrow Franklin’s Gull Fulvous Whistling-Duck Gadwall Gambel’s Quail Gila Woodpecker Gilded Flicker Glaucous Gull Glaucous-winged Gull Glossy Ibis Golden Eagle Golden-cheeked Warbler Golden-crowned Kinglet Golden-crowned Sparrow Golden-crowned Warbler Golden-fronted Woodpecker Golden-winged Warbler Grace’s Warbler Grasshopper Sparrow Gray Catbird Gray Flycatcher Gray Kingbird Gray Partridge Gray Vireo Gray-cheeked Thrush Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch Great Black-backed Gull Great Blue Heron Great Cormorant Great Crested Flycatcher Great Egret Great Gray Owl Great Horned Owl Great Kiskadee Great-tailed Grackle Greater Pewee Greater Prairie-Chicken Greater Roadrunner Greater Sage-Grouse Greater Scaup Greater White-fronted Goose Greater Yellowlegs Green Heron Green Jay Green-tailed-towhee Green-winged Teal Groove-billed Ani Gull-billed Tern Gunnison Sage-Grouse Gyrfalcon Hairy Woodpecker Hammond’s Flycatcher Harlequin Duck Harris’s Hawk Harris’s Sparrow Heermann’s Gull Henslow’s Sparrow Hepatic Tanager Hermit Thrush Hermit Warbler Herring Gull Hoary Redpoll Hooded Merganser Hooded Oriole Hooded Warbler Horned Grebe Horned Lark Horned Puffin House Finch House Sparrow House Wren Hudsonian Godwit Hutton’s Vireo Inca Dove Indigo Bunting Ivory-billed Woodpecker Juniper Titmouse Kentucky Warbler Killdeer King Eider King Rail Kirtland’s Warbler Ladder-backed Woodpecker Lapland Longspur Lark Bunting Lark Sparrow Laughing Gull Lawrence’s Goldfinch Lazuli Bunting Le Conte’s Sparrow Le Conte’s Thrasher Least Bittern Least Flycatcher Least Grebe Least Sandpiper Least Tern Lesser Black-backed Gull Lesser Goldfinch Lesser Prairie-Chicken Lesser Scaup Lesser Yellowlegs Lewis’s Woodpecker Limpkin Lincoln’s Sparrow Little Blue Heron Loggerhead Shrike Long-billed Curlew Long-billed Dowitcher Long-eared Owl Long-tailed Duck Louisiana Waterthrush Lucifer Hummingbird Lucy’s Warbler MacGillivray’s Warbler Magnificent Frigatebird Magnificent Hummingbird Magnolia Warbler Mallard Mangrove Cuckoo Marbled Godwit Marsh Wren Masked Duck McCown’s Longspur Merlin Mew Gull Mexican Jay Mississippi Kite Montezuma Quail Mottled Duck Mountain Bluebird Mountain Chickadee Mountain Plover Mountain Quail Mourning Dove Mourning Warbler Mute Swan Nashville Warbler Neotropic Cormorant Northern Bobwhite Northern Cardinal Northern Flicker Northern Fulmar Northern Gannet Northern Goshawk Northern Harrier Northern Hawk Owl Northern Mockingbird Northern Parula Northern Pintail Northern Rough-winged Swallow Northern Saw-whet Owl Northern Shoveler Northern Shrike Northern Waterthrush Northwestern Crow Nuttall’s Woodpecker Oak Titmouse Olive-sided Flycatcher Orange-crowned Warbler Orchard Oriole Osprey Ovenbird Pacific Golden-Plover Pacific Loon Pacific-slope Flycatcher Painted Bunting Painted Redstart Palm Warbler Pectoral Sandpiper Pelagic Cormorant Peregrine Falcon Phainopepla Philadelphia Vireo Pied-billed Grebe Pigeon Guillemot Pileated Woodpecker Pine Grosbeak Pine Siskin Pine Warbler Pinyon Jay Piping Plover Plain Chachalaca Plumbeous Vireo Prairie Falcon Prairie Warbler Prothonotary Warbler Purple Finch Purple Gallinule Purple Martin Purple Sandpiper Pygmy Nuthatch Pyrrhuloxia Razorbill Red Crossbill Red Knot Red Phalarope Red-bellied Woodpecker Red-breasted Merganser Red-breasted Nuthatch Red-breasted Sapsucker Red-cockaded Woodpecker Red-eyed Vireo Red-faced Warbler Red-headed Woodpecker Red-naped Sapsucker Red-necked Grebe Red-necked Phalarope Red-shouldered Hawk Red-tailed Hawk Red-throated Loon Red-winged Blackbird Reddish Egret Redhead Ring-billed Gull Ring-necked Duck Ring-necked Pheasant Rock Pigeon Rock Ptarmigan Rock Sandpiper Rose-breasted Grosbeak Roseate Spoonbill Roseate Tern Ross’s Goose Rough-legged Hawk Royal Tern Ruby-crowned Kinglet Ruby-throated Hummingbird Ruddy Duck Ruddy Turnstone Ruffed Grouse Rufous Hummingbird Rufous-capped Warbler Rufous-winged Sparrow Rusty Blackbird Sabine’s Gull Sage Sparrow Sage Thrasher Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow Sanderling Sandhill Crane Sandwich Tern Savannah Sparrow Say’s Phoebe Scaled Quail Scarlet Tanager Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Scott’s Oriole Seaside Sparrow Sedge Wren Semipalmated Plover Semipalmated Sandpiper Sharp-shinned Hawk Sharp-tailed Grouse Short-billed Dowitcher Short-eared Owl Slate-throated Redstart Smith’s Longspur Smooth-billed Ani Snail Kite Snow Bunting Snow Goose Snowy Egret Snowy Plover Solitary Sandpiper Song Sparrow Sooty Grouse Sora Spotted Owl Spotted Sandpiper Spotted Towhee Sprague’s Pipit Spruce Grouse Steller’s Jay Stilt Sandpiper Summer Tanager Surf Scoter Surfbird Swainson’s Hawk Swainson’s Thrush Swainson’s Warbler Swallow-tailed Kite Swamp Sparrow Tennessee Warbler Thick-billed Murre Townsend’s Solitaire Townsend’s Warbler Tree Swallow Tricolored Heron Tropical Kingbird Trumpeter Swan Tufted Puffin Tufted Titmouse Tundra Swan Turkey Vulture Upland Sandpiper Varied Bunting Varied Thrush Vaux’s Swift Veery Verdin Vermilion Flycatcher Vesper Sparrow Violet-green Swallow Virginia Rail Virginia’s Warbler Warbling Vireo Western Bluebird Western Grebe Western Gull Western Kingbird Western Sandpiper Western Screech-Owl Western Tanager Western Wood-Pewee Western-Meadowlark Whimbrel White Ibis White-breasted Nuthatch White-crowned Pigeon White-crowned Sparrow White-eyed Vireo White-faced Ibis White-headed Woodpecker White-rumped Sandpiper White-tailed Hawk White-tailed Kite White-tailed Ptarmigan White-throated Sparrow White-throated Swift White-tipped Dove White-winged Crossbill White-winged Dove White-winged Scoter Whooping Crane Wild Turkey Willet Williamson’s Sapsucker Willow Flycatcher Willow Ptarmigan Wilson’s Phalarope Wilson’s Plover Wilson’s Snipe Wilson’s Warbler Winter Wren Wood Duck Wood Stork Wood Thrush Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay Worm-eating Warbler Wrentit Yellow Rail Yellow Warbler Yellow-bellied Flycatcher Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Yellow-billed Cuckoo Yellow-billed Magpie Yellow-breasted Chat Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Yellow-headed Blackbird Yellow-rumped Warbler Yellow-throated Vireo Yellow-throated Warbler Zone-tailed Hawk

6 Steps for Choosing Binoculars For Bird Watching

Choosing binoculars for bird watching

Thinking about purchasing a new pair of binoculars to enhance your birding experience?  Here are 6 things to consider.

1. Price

Price is always an issue.  As with many things, buy the best you can afford.  And unlike some things, if you spend more for a pair of binoculars you will get the increased value.

For casual, backyard viewing, a decent pair of binoculars can be had for about $100.00.

Better quality optics, suitable for birding trips fall into the $300 – $500 range.

The $1000 range will buy you a quality product that could last a life time.  Zeiss and Leica have “entry” level binoculars in this price range.  Many other companies, including Nikon, Alpen, Opticron, Kowa and others can meet your needs in this price range.

The next step up is in the $2000 to $2500 range.  Zeiss, Leica and Swarovski have typically been the leaders in this area, with Nikon joining this rarified air.  Binoculars in this price range usually have a life-time guarantee and will provide years of quality service.

The more you spend the better image you will get.   Features such as light-gathering ability, sharper images, weather resistance  and durability all effect the price.

2. Know the numbers

Binoculars will have numbers like 8×42 and 10×40.

The first number is the magnification.  A binocular with an 8X rating brings the image 8 times closer.

7x, 8x and 10x  (and similar) are the most popular choices.  If you have steady hands, you might prefer the 10x, a little shaky – try the 8x.

Swarovski has introduced a pair of well balanced 12x binoculars, nice but they require a well-balanced wallet also.

The second number indicates the diameter of the objective lens (not the eyepiece).  The larger the objective lens, the better the light gathering ability, and the heavier the binocular.

3. More numbers

Close focal distance;
Close focal distance is something to consider. Inexpensive binoculars may have a close focus distance of 15 ft. or more.  Better choices will focus down to as little as 6 ft.  6-10 ft. is good.

Field of view:
The field of view is normally given in degrees or the width of the image at 1000 yards. Higher magnifications tend to have a narrower field of view.  If you are concerned about following birds in flight, look for binoculars that have a large field of view.

Now it gets personal.

Once you understand a few of the basics, the final selection comes down to personal preference. Weight, balance, feel and appearance will all effect your final choice.

4.  Try them out

If at all possible, try out several pair from different manufacturers before purchasing.  If you can make it to one of the birding festivals (Select a state from the Birdzilla site ) you will often find the optics companies exhibiting and one or more retail companies selling all the major brands.

When testing, be sure to adjust the focus for each eye.  Sales staff can show you how.  They can also show you how to determine if the pair you purchase is properly aligned.

Some bird feeding specialty stores also know about and sell birding binoculars.  Look for independent stores or Wild birds Unlimited or Wild bird Centers.

5.  If you wear glasses

If you wear glasses check the eye pieces on the binoculars.  They should be adjustable – extend up and down – to accommodate different needs.  Some designs slide and some twist.  Do not purchase binoculars with hard plastic eye cups.

6. Making the purchase!

Purchasing locally can make it easier to try different models and perhaps obtain extra customer service if needed.

If you can not find a good local source then you can purchase online.  There are several quality online sources.  Eagle Optics is one you should consider. Many members of their staff are birders.  They handle all major brands and offer competitive prices along with soloed advice.  (We have no association with Eagle Optics.)

About the Author

Sam Crowe

Sam is the founder of Birdzilla.com. He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.

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