Today, Jan. 5, 2021, is a special day for any outdoor enthusiast.
It’s National Bird Day. That means it’s the perfect excuse to pick your favorite hiking spot, gear up, and get ready to spend most of the day with your head tilted up.
A Day Worth Hiking
For hunters or experienced bird watchers alike, it’s an opportunity to appreciate, or gain an appreciation, for all the birds soaring high out there. Whether it’s the cardinals or the blue jays or the American Goldfinches, the opportunity to see a spark of color is an exciting one.
Four of the most popular birds in the U.S. are the mourning doves, northern cardinals, robins, and crows.
Whether you’re on the Appalachian trail watching a rare ruffed grouse or in your backyard listening to a woodpecker peck, all birds are equal today.
However, if you’re planning a hike to see some birds today, make sure you have the right equipment. Tired feet, cold legs, and frostbite on the hands is only going to distract from the main attraction.
Bass Pro Shops has plenty of hiking gear available, anything from shoes to coats to hats to anything in between. They are even having their biggest annual clearance sale right now, just in time for the cold winter hiking season.
Bird Watching Advice
While many people are hardcore professional birdwatchers and can detect what bird is behind them with just the tiniest peep of a whistle, most of us aren’t.
However, there are many ways to still get involved in birdwatching, whatever expertise level you’re at.
Some common tools to consider having are binoculars and some kind of guide or book to get an idea of what you’re looking at. For beginners, look for a bird guide arranged by color to get you started. Other bird guides can focus on shape or taxonomy, however, that could be hard for a beginner.
Some common advice for birdwatchers is to know the regular birds of the area, find a good spot in the wild to watch, and understand what the difference in time of day and year will make for the experience.
If you’re looking for fun future events, the National Park Service has a calendar of bird-related events. The next one is on Jan. 9. It is taking place in Tumacácori National Historic Park.
The event will be a guided two-hour tour along the Santa Cruz River where some exotic southern Arizona birds will likely be out to play. NPS also has a list of the most popular types in each national park which can be helpful.
For this hike, and any other, gearing up is important. Any kind of weather, cold or warm, makes it important to be prepared with proper gear and equipment.