Bird Watching Equipment

This bird watching equipment guide will focus on bird watching equipment UK but the principles covered will apply worldwide. We will looks at all types of equipment ranging from bird watching equipment for children right up to set ups that cost over £1,000. Many people start taking an interest just using their eyes and ears and a little knowledge and guidance. However many birds are shy and elusive and if you want to get good views and improve your identification skills you will need bird watching equipment. All keen birdwatchers own a pair of binoculars and many progress to telescopes and special bird watching equipment for their cameras (digiscoping).

Bird Watching Equipment for Children

Most children are naturally intrigued by all wildlife but may not have the patience sit in a bird hide for hours on end! They prefer to be more hands on and they like to make a difference. A bird feeder or bird table would be a great gift. A child may help to feed the birds and have the chance to get close to a number of garden birds. Many of these birds such as Blue Tit, Great Tit and Robin have distinct markings and characters that are appealing to children. A small identification book makes a great stocking filler at Christmas and will get a child started. Children love to take part in the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) annual Garden BirdWatch Survey. This is the largest bird survey in the world and the next survey will be held on January 29th/30th 2011. Some children may want to progress and get closer to birds in different habitats. Using binoculars would be the next step. Don't be tempted to buy a very cheap pair as they are sure to disappoint. Its best to let a child try a pair of binoculars before making a purchase. The RSPB organizes optics days at many of its birds reserves where you can try a range of binoculars before you buy. For children a light pair that also enable close focusing (so they may enjoy detailed views of some of our tame garden birds) would be ideal.

Bird Watching Equipment Guide



All bird watchers will want to own at least one pair of binoculars. They are not cheap but, with care, will last a lifetime. It is essential that you try before you buy. RSPB "optics days" are strongly recommended, you can try a range of binoculars at one of their reserves, get advice and decide which pair suits you and your budget. You can purchase a reasonable pair of binoculars for £50 but a top of the range pair will cost more than £1,000. If you go to one of these optics days you will be able to gauge whether a top of the range pair is justified. Key factors to consider are weight, ease of use, comfort, focus range, light gathering properties and robustness. However if you take your time and try a range of binoculars you will know which pair is right for you.


Once you have mastered the identification of the more common, less elusive birds you will want to progress to rarer birds. You will probably have been amazed at how other birdwatchers, using their telescopes, have been able to identify birds that to you (even using your binoculars) are just specks in the distance. Telescopes may be many times more powerful than binoculars but are obviously less portable and stable. You will need a tripod in order to get steady views. A reasonable telescope will cost at least £250 but top end prices will be in excess of £1,000. You may try telescopes at RSPB "optics days".

Bird Watching Equipment for Cameras

Digiscoping is becoming increasingly popular. This is where an adapter is used to attach a digital camera to a telescope to take close up photos. These adapters cost in the region of £100. Digiscoping is progressing rapidly so its best to get advice about the latest best set-ups from an experienced digiscoper or go to an optic day at a RSPB reserve.

Bird Watching Equipment UK

Bird watching is very popular in the UK. We are fortunate to have the RSPB which has over one million members. We also have the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and a number of other wildlife charities such as Wildlife Trusts. These charities have established hundreds of nature reserves across the country. Anyone who wants to pursue bird watching as a hobby may contact these organizations, get advice and join a local group. It would be wise to get free help and advice from one of these charities before you buy any significant bird watching equipment.

More Bird Watching Articles

Feeding Wild Birds

Bird Watching Gifts

Bird Watching Telescopes

Birdwatching Holidays

Bird Watching Books