Thursday, April 23, 2009

Birding Clothing - Basics and Extras

I am taking a bit of a diversion from my normal photography blogging to talk about Birding Clothing - Basics and Extras. Birding can take many shapes, from a quick stroll after breakfast to a formal birding trip into the rainforest. Naturally, your clothing needs to adjust as well.

The Basics

  • comfort - first and foremost wear what is comfortable. Get rid of what looks good if it is not comfortable. You want to be watching the birds NOT thinking about how sore your foot is because your shoes are not comfortable.
  • footwear - hiking boots, hiking shoes and rubber boots are all good choices depending on the terrain. Hiking boots and shoes are waterproof and will keep your feet dry in rain and in wet terrain. If you bird a lot in uneven terrain then get the extra ankle support provided by hiking boots. Rubber boots can get you much closer to the birds when your are birding in wetlands.
  • clothes - earth tone clothes are best - please no bright colors or white. Stick with Khaki, brown, green, and gray. A comfortable hat will come in handy for the rain and sun. Pick the same colors as mentioned above. Make sure you wear clothes that don't squeak or rustle when you walk. Sometimes the most expensive rain gear can make a lot of noise when walking.

The Extras
  • Vest - a lightweight vest with lots of mesh can be a good addition to your birding gear. Lots of pockets always come in handy for fieldguides, protein bars, camera gear etc. Also it provides an additional layer of clothing which will keep you warm.
  • Repellent - Insect repellent is handy at times and fits easily in a vest pocket. I would recommend only using it when the bugs are really bad as it can be quite greasy and make marks on your plastic equipment - binoculars and cameras. That is because of the chemical "Deet" used in most effective repellents. Be careful!!
  • Poncho - a cheap poncho that goes into one of your vest pockets comes in handy for those sudden rainfalls and helps keep your equipment dry too.
  • First Aid Kit - a very small kit that contains painkillers, bandages, and tensor bandages are best and can fit into a vest pocket as well. Don't let a headache or a sore knee, ankle spoil your birding experience.
Here is a short video that describes the basics.

Join me and my guides on one of my birding tours to Central and South America. I have new recession price cuts for the remainder of my 2009 tours. Have a peek and see an example of the hardcover birding journal that is included with each tour at


Anthony said...

Great list! The poncho would have saved my hair and clothes many overcast days...

*I Donated To Cornell Ornithology!*

Lindsey said...

Nice list! :)

Also, everyone should have tweezers in their first aid kits. I have found myself on too many occasions getting all sorts of tiny thorns/sharp hairs from plants. Also unfortunately useful in tick country.

Michael Nelson said...

Great idea Lindsey - I missed that one. Great Blog you have.

how to bowling said...

In the part that you talk about clothes, I'm agree with you, earth tone clothes are the bomb, if you use a brown skirt with a green top, it looks so cute and fashion!

Walter said...

Bird photography may be totally difficult, depending on the kind of bird and their susceptibility to fly away when it detects a human. That is why the things I've learned from various photographer (Irving) are very valuable for my growth as a photo enthusiast.

Going for bird photography (Irving) is a good thing to do, due to good lighting condition of the area.