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How to start bird watching with Angela Schumpert

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Birdwatching is more than just a hobby; it’s a way to connect with nature, unwind, and experience the beauty of our feathered friends. Angela Schumpert (pronouns: she/her) is a mum of four, a passionate birdwatcher and the personality behind the popular Instagram account @the_berd_nird. Here, she shares her insights and tips on how to dive into birdwatching, the ethics involved, and her personal experiences that have enriched her journey. Angela’s story is a testament to the joy and fulfillment that birdwatching can bring. It encourages us to slow down, pay attention to the natural world, and find beauty in the everyday. Whether you’re an experienced birdwatcher or a curious beginner, there’s always something new to discover in the world of birds. So, grab your binoculars, head outside, and see what feathered friends you can find!

How to start bird watching with Angela Schumpert | #itsawildlife

HOW TO START BIRDWATCHING

Angela’s journey into birdwatching

Birdwatching, a hobby often seen as tranquil and contemplative, is more than just a pastime for Angela, a dedicated birdwatcher from South Carolina. Her journey into this fascinating world began with a simple hummingbird feeder on a beautiful four-acre property in Bishopville, South Carolina. The previous homeowners had left the bird feeder behind, attracting a delightful array of hummingbirds that caught Angela’s attention during the summer months.

Initially, Angela’s busy life, filled with the demands of raising young children, left little room for nature appreciation. However, as her children grew up, she found herself increasingly drawn to the avian visitors in her yard. This growing curiosity sparked a profound interest in birdwatching, which has since become a significant part of her life.

The pivotal moment, often referred to as the “Spark Bird” event in the birdwatching community, came when Angela moved to a new home. The previous owners had also left their bird feeders, which Angela dutifully maintained. One day, she was astonished to see a Blue Grosbeak at the feeder, a bird she had never seen before. This encounter ignited a passion in her, leading her to wonder about the many other bird species she had yet to discover.

The Transformative Power of Birdwatching

Angela’s experience highlights how birdwatching can transform an ordinary walk in nature into an exciting adventure. What started as casual observation soon turned into a full-fledged hobby. She began spending her free time birdwatching, finding it to be a therapeutic escape from her everyday stresses. Birdwatching became a way for her to relax and enjoy nature’s beauty, providing a sense of purpose and excitement.

The diversity and unpredictability of birds are what make birdwatching so captivating. Whether it’s spotting a rare species or witnessing unusual behaviours, there’s always something new to discover. Angela recalls the excitement surrounding flamingos appearing unexpectedly in the Midwest, a phenomenon that drew birdwatchers from across the country. Such events highlight the thrilling and ever-evolving nature of birdwatching.

Embracing the Birdwatching Lifestyle

Birdwatching can become an integral part of life, influencing travel plans and daily activities. Angela enjoys exploring different habitats, from coastal areas to wooded trails, each offering unique birdwatching opportunities. This hobby doesn’t require extensive travel; even a local park can be a treasure trove of bird activity.

Angela’s humorous take on birdwatching captures the quirky and obsessive nature of the hobby. Whether it’s being late to appointments because of an exciting bird sighting or carrying binoculars everywhere, birdwatchers often find themselves in amusing situations. These shared experiences foster a sense of camaraderie and community among bird enthusiasts.

How to start birdwatching

Getting started with birdwatching doesn’t require expensive gear or traveling to exotic locations. Here are Angela’s top tips for beginners:

  • Start in Your Backyard: Your own backyard can be a treasure trove of bird activity. Observing birds in a familiar environment helps you learn their behaviors, calls, and habits. This foundational knowledge can enhance your birdwatching skills when you venture further afield.
  • Invest in Basic Equipment: You don’t need to spend a lot of money initially. A basic pair of binoculars and a simple camera can suffice. As your interest grows, you can gradually upgrade your gear.
  • Be Patient and Observant: Birdwatching requires patience. Spend time quietly observing, and you’ll start to notice the subtle differences in bird species, their songs, and their movements.

Building a Birdwatching Community

Social media has played a crucial role in Angela’s birdwatching journey. Initially, she didn’t realize how many people shared her passion. Joining the online birdwatching community opened up a world of like-minded individuals who shared tips, experiences, and support. This community aspect is vital, making birdwatching a more enriching and connected experience.

Angela has also found humour and joy in her birdwatching adventures. From making funny social media reels to sharing relatable birdwatching mishaps, she brings a light-hearted approach to the hobby. Her content resonates with both avid birdwatchers and newcomers, highlighting the universal appeal of appreciating nature.

The Therapeutic and Mindful Benefits of Birdwatching

Birdwatching offers more than just visual pleasure; like many other activities in nature, it can provide significant wellness and mental health benefits as well. For Angela, spending time in nature, listening to bird calls, and observing their behaviours is a form of mindfulness. It helps her disconnect from daily worries and focus on the present moment, reducing stress and promoting relaxation.

Nature has always been a source of solace, but modern life often pulls us away from it. Angela’s story is a reminder of the importance of reconnecting with the natural world. Birdwatching offers a simple yet profound way to achieve this, allowing us to appreciate the beauty and complexity of our environment.

Spreading Awareness and Conservation

Angela’s birdwatching journey also emphasizes the importance of bird conservation. By raising awareness and sharing her passion, she hopes to inspire others to appreciate and protect bird species. Increased awareness leads to better conservation efforts, ensuring that future generations can enjoy the rich diversity of birdlife.

The Ethics of Birdwatching: Do’s and Don’ts

Birdwatching comes with its own set of ethical considerations. Angela references Heather Wolfe’s book, Find More Birds, which highlights some important aspects of birdwatching ethics such as –

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Ways-Find-More-Birds-Everywhere_If/dp/1615199403?nodl=1&dplnkId=c8a653e4-7943-4b66-8f11-898fd891e199

  • Avoid Using Bird Calls During Mating Season: Apps that mimic bird calls can stress birds, especially during mating season or migration. This can disrupt their natural behaviors and cause unnecessary distress.
  • Feed Birds Responsibly: While some debate the ethics of feeding birds, Angela advocates for it as long as it’s done responsibly. Keeping bird feeders clean and providing nutritious food can support local bird populations. Plus, it’s a joy to watch birds visit your backyard feeder.

KEEP IN TOUCH

Want to hear more from Angela? Tune into the podcast or follow her adventures on social media – @the_berd_nird on Instagram, @berdnird4 on TikTok, @the_berd_nird on Facebook and @theberdnird on YouTube. Happy birdwatching! What do you think? why not let us know or follow along for the adventure! You can –

✨subscribe for updates
✨follow us on Instagram @itisawildlife and TikTok @itisawildlife
✨flick us an email or DM us on social media.

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