Bird and nature watching tips to help you see more

July 29, 2015

The world is teeming with life, all you have to do is know where to look. Here's some advice on how to spot animals while you're in the great outdoors.

Bird and nature watching tips to help you see more

Finding fowl

  • Birds are the most conspicuous inhabitants of the bush, making their presence known by calls, aerial acrobatics and rowdy congregations.
  • Patience, keen eyesight and good hearing are prerequisites for the budding birdwatcher.
  • A good pair of binoculars is a great aid to identification.
  • A good field guide lets you put a name to what may seem like a flurry of feathers. The best guides have information about bird behaviour and habitats.
  • You're likely to come across a variety of birds during a day's hike. But you may also want to find a nesting site or tree in flower, take a seat and observe quietly.

Keep your eyes open for other animals

  • Spotting native mammals often requires a good deal of patience and luck.
  • While you may happen on a deer along the track, most four-footed creatures are shy and/or nocturnal.
  • Campers may more readily encounter foragers, which often visit campsites in the evening in search of tasty morsels.
  • Although a knowledge of animal tracks and scats (droppings) will let you know what animals are around, you're most likely to see the animals themselves if you spend time in likely haunts.
  • Wear colours that blend into your surroundings and be prepared to stay still and quiet for some time. Some animals will approach you if they don't consider you a threat.
  • Most animals shelter during the heat of the day, but reptiles can be seen rustling through the leaf litter or sunning themselves on rocks.
  • You may see creatures climbing trees, alarmed by your approach.

Stay safe

  • Never feed wild animals. Not only does it encourage scavenging behaviour, but the food we eat can be harmful to them.
  • Food in the campsite in North America will attract bears so be extra careful.
  • Snakes in this country are mostly harmless, especially if you keep your distance.

Catching a glimpse of something can be the highlight of a trip. If you're safe, cautious and quiet, who knows what you'll see next.

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