Birding With Spotting Scopes: Instructions for Newbies

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If you are new to birding, you might get lost in the numerous tools the market currently offers. The spotting scope is the first thing you need to have in your arsenal if you decide to spend some time on this hobby. After several observations, you will notice that bird watching is not just a hobby but a way to relax and even become healthier while checking on birds outdoors. This article will help you understand how to pick birdwatching spotting scopes even if you are a newcomer.

What Is a Spotting Scope?

A spotting scope is the type of telescope that is used in the fields. Usually, it comes with a mounted tripod. This tool is used to look at distant objects. It is mobile, so you can change the location if the object you are watching is moving. Bird watchers prefer to use a spotting scope instead of a massive telescope or any other tool mainly because of its magnifying power and mobility. Yet, you don’t need to limit your possibilities since you can use the scope for hunting, stargazing, and photography.

Top Tips on Picking a Spotting Scope

You need to consider numerous factors before you buy the right spotting scope. Don’t hesitate to read these tips before you choose anything since such devices are not cheap. Here is what you have to pay attention to:

  • Magnification. You have to consider the power of magnification in the first place. The range starts from 15 and extends up to 60x. You typically don’t need 60x magnification since it will provide you with a blurry image. However, 15x magnification is also not enough for bird watching. The best zone is from 20x and up to 30x. It is an ideal combination of a clear image over a long distance. Be careful: The higher magnification, the lower the quality of the image you see;
  • Focus. If you are a birdwatcher, the focus on your spotting scope must be easy to tune. Birds usually don’t wait for you to adjust the view. There are two options for you: either to twist the grip around the barrel of the scope or turn the knob on top of the tool. It is up to you which method to pick; however, if you have quick reactions, the barrel grip is simpler to use;
  • Straight or angled. Pick the shape of the scope based on your preferences. The angled model is easier for bird watching since you can change positions, and you will feel more comfortable. You can look up at the mountain, slope, or edge;
  • Quality of lenses. This is one of the most crucial factors in birdwatching. If you can’t decide whether to buy cheaper spotting scope or delay the purchase until you have enough money for the models with top-quality lenses, it is better to wait and keep saving. You need a supreme lens to see the birds in great resolution with all their colorful feathers. Pay attention to the fact that large lenses of bad quality are not better for you, since they still will not show you the crystal clear image of a bird you were waiting to see for hours;
  • The coating of the lens is vital for your hobby too. The best model has a fully multi-coated lens. If you can’t afford it, try the multi-coated models. Fully coated lenses will do their job for beginners. Yet, once you spent some time searching for the birds you were trying to get for some time, you will want to see them through the fully multi-coated lens. They provide the optimal brightness, contrast of the image, sharp enough colors, and true, not changed color palette;
  • Aperature or objective size. This measurement is added to any description of spotting scopes. You will see it made in “mm.” The most popular choice of bird watchers is between 60 mm and 100 mm. If you don’t want to carry the massive objective with you, you can try 60 mm, which might be more than enough for you. Yet, if you are professional, you need a 100 mm objective. The wider your diameter, the more light you can catch.

Bird Watching Scope for You

No matter which spotting scope you want to choose, make sure that it matches your skills and demands. You don’t have to buy an expensive professional model if you are still a beginner and can’t adjust the lens in seconds. Once you learn how to navigate the scope, you will discover numerous features it provides. Start with the basic factors described above, and you will quickly reach your goal.

Are you a bird watcher? Have you ever used a spotting scope before? Express your thoughts about the tool in the comments below.

Sophie Turner
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