How to Plan a Birding Trip

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Determine your budget.,
Choose your location.,
Buy a map of the region you plan to visit.,
Find a copy of “Guide to the National Wildlife Refuges” and other books about the region’s prime birding areas.,
Count the number of days you would like to spend in the area.,
Consult your regional birding books again for advice about lodging, transportation and meal planning.,
Book your airplane, rental car, train or other travel, once your dates, location and other plans are set.,
Arrange meetings with other bird watchers who have visited the area.,
Make a list of target birds.,
Pack for your trip.

A birding trip can be as extravagant or cost-effective as you desire. Deciding how much you can afford may have a hand in limiting your options for travel.;
, If you do regular research on birds and their migratory patterns, you may already have a list of places that you want to visit. Once you have chosen a domestic or international destination, you will likely choose dates based on when the birds you want to see are active in the area.

, Use this map to help you circle places where you would like to visit. You can start planning your itinerary.

, Read the books and mark the places you want to visit on your map. Note how long you want to spend in each area in hours or days.

You can find regional birding books and information by looking at your local library, online and on bookstore websites like Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Don’t forget to check if your state has free resources online. For example, there is a bird trip planning tool for Florida bird watchers at https://public.myfwc.com/maps/birdtrip/.

, Create an itinerary from the areas you have circled and the lengths of time you want to spend. You should arrive at your dates for travel from this itinerary.

, Many of these guides provide a comprehensive look at travel in the area. Book lodging and transportation according to this advice and your budget.

, It is best to do this 1 to 3 months in advance to ensure you can arrive in time for the region’s best bird watching. Book further in advance if you are traveling during peak travel times in the region.

, You can benefit from their experience. They may also show you pictures from their trip to prepare you for packing and research.

, When reading your books, guides and doing your Internet research, write down species of birds that you want to see on your trip. Obtain the numbers for the National Audubon Society and any Rare Bird Alerts in the area, in order to find out specific information about the birds’ habits.

Some birders choose to make sheets or cards about their target birds. You can find pictures and write down details about nesting, calls and other invaluable information. By bringing this information with you on your trip, you may increase your chances of seeing new species of birds.

, Pay special attention to the weather in the area, so you are prepared for the season on long birding adventures. Pack an extra set of binoculars in case you lose a pair in your luggage.

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