Birder's Guide

DEC 2013

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 5 of 51

Colorado Springs, Colorado Jeffrey A. Gordon From the President ne of the most-frequently cited virtues of birding is that you don't need much stuff to do it. Get your hands on a pair of binoculars and a feld guide, and you're set for a lifetime of fun—and on the path to a deeper, more vital relationship with the world around you. Truly, one doesn't even need that much. One requires nothing more than a pair of eyes and/or ears to become a skilled and knowledgeable birder. I've seen plenty of ecotourism guides who make their living showing birds and wildlife to others, yet don't own binoculars themselves. All of us can beneft by occasionally forsaking our optics and our apps, and relying on only the gear that we were born with. But it's also true that technologies, from older ones like optics to newer ones like eBird, can add so much to your birding practice, making it far more intellectually and aesthetically satisfying. The trick is fnding that point where the amount of money you spend on gear, and—even more importantly—the time you spend learning about it, cleaning it, packing it, curating it, and otherwise maintaining it are in balance with the advantages and opportunities that your gear affords you. Fortunately, the basic items in the birder's tool kit like binoculars, spotting scopes, cameras, and outdoor clothing are largely of excellent quality, widely available, and in most instances getting steadily better and less expensive. Whatever your style of birding and size of budget, there are tools that will help you get more from your time afeld. The ABA's Birder's Guide to Gear is designed to be an opinionated, practical guide to just that: choosing and using tools that will make your birding better. Of course, there will be hymns of praise to the latest and greatest gotta-have-it-or-at-least-see-it innovations. But we also want to help you get more from the gear you already own; this isn't solely about convincing you to part with more cash. Because photography—even fundamentals like what we consider a feld-worthy camera—is in a particularly rapid period of change, this issue features quite a bit of emphasis on capturing images of the birds you see and the places you see them. We hope you'll fnd that content, and all that we present here, as useful and reliable as a favorite hat or jacket and as revealing as the view through a fne binocular. Together, we can all beneft from the experiences and insights gained from thousands of hours in the feld with thousands of different types of gear. O Good birding, Jeffrey A. Gordon President, American Birding Association 4 Birder's Guide to Gear | December 2013

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