Magazine article Sunset

Basic Gear for Birding

Magazine article Sunset

Basic Gear for Birding

Article excerpt

FIELD GUIDES. Three favorites of expert birders: Field Guide to the Birds of North America (National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C.,' 1987; $21). Detailed illustrations and helpful organization, with bird portraits and range maps. The Peterson Field Guide to Western Birds, by Roger Tory Peterson (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1990; $17.95). Popular classic; drawings point out key field marks. All the Birds of North America, concept and design by Jack L. Griggs (HarperPerennial, New York, 1997; $19.95). To make identification easier, species are keyed by icons, colored margins lead you to bird groups, and information on feeding and foraging behavior is included. BINOCULARS. Birds move fast, so quick and easy focus is essential, as is close focus (10 to 15 feet). Don't even consider fixedfocus binoculars. Standard magnification is 7 power, but if you have a steady hand, you'll see more detail with 10 power. Get binoculars with long eye relief if you wear glasses. Avoid zoom binoculars. Dogleg-barreled porroprism binoculars made with BaK-4 prisms perform outstandingly and are relatively inexpensive. Straight-tubed roof-prism binoculars are smaller and lighter but cost more. …

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