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Even if you’re not going on an organized bird watching holiday or tour, a getaway with family and friends is still a great opportunity to watch birds.

Birds At The Beach

Whether you’re going on a weekend city break or a two-week sunshine holiday you may be lucky enough to spot some new species in unfamiliar environments. New York’s Central Park, for example, is home to over 150 species of birds, many of which are not native to the UK, including cardinals, warblers and tanagers.

Some of the best places to watch birds when on holiday are:

Public gardens and parks
Canal and riverside walks
Coastlines and shores
Mountains and lakes

Before you go on holiday it is important to do some preparation to make the most of your time, particularly if you are going to have to sneak off for a few hours to go bird watching.

Take some time beforehand to familiarize yourself with the birds that inhabit the local area. A field guide will be able to give you advice on the species you are likely to see and the best time of year to spot them.

Try contacting a local birding organization before you go who should be able to advise you on places to watch birds. They may also have some organized days out such as guided walks you could join.

Pack a compact pair of binoculars and a digital camera as well as a notebook for jotting down field notes on any new species you observe. Photos and descriptions will help you with positive identification later if you are unable to do so at the time you see a new bird.

While you’re away why not spend a day visiting a bird park or sanctuary? As well as seeing local birds this may give you an opportunity to see exotic and endangered birds in free-flying aviaries for example, and many bird parks and sanctuaries are involved in conservation programmes so you can be sure that any entrance fees are going to a good cause. Check for activities and shows they put on that children can get involved with.

Staycations remain popular so even if you’re staying in the UK for your holiday choose somewhere with a wide variety of birdlife such as the highlands of Scotland where you will be able to see some magnificent birds of prey amongst beautiful scenery.

However you decide to spend your time, remember a holiday is a time to relax and enjoy the company of others so don’t stress too much if you don’t get a lot of time to bird watch and don’t worry if you don’t see any of the birds you planned to. There is always next year after all.

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