A young man birdwatcher using binoculars to observe birds in their natural habitat.

Essential Bird Watching Gear for Beginners: Top Picks!

Bird watching is a popular hobby. If you are considering becoming a bird watcher, it’s important to know what you’re up against and have the best gear to protect yourself.

The right equipment will help ensure that your outing goes smoothly, and you can enjoy all the sights of nature without being pestered by mosquitos or bothered by too much sun exposure.

The most basic bird watching equipment includes binoculars, telescope, field guidebook, hiking shoes, insect repellent and sunscreen lotion.

If you are ready to start your own personal birding adventure, then I encourage you to check out the list below before you get started.

Essential Bird Watching Gear for Beginners

Bird Call and Bird Song Identification

The bird sound identification app, BirdNET, uses artificial intelligence and neural networks to identify more than 3,000 of the most common species worldwide. You just use your android phone to record the bird sounds, and the BirdNET app identifies the bird species.

This article explores how using AI has helped humans with a centuries-old problem: identifying birds by their songs.

How is this possible? This new tool combines machine learning algorithms with data from acoustic databases around the world that contain millions of recordings of bird songs submitted to the app, it has already identified 3,000 species.

The BirdNET app has been developed to help people identify birdsong quickly and easily – something that can be difficult even for experts without access to sophisticated equipment like a spectrograph or library of recordings.

If you would like to, learn more about the app and how to use it correctly, you can watch the video on the BirdNET website.


It is a good idea to consider how much time you can spend on a birding trip. There are many different birding trips that you can take from long periods of time to just a couple of hours.

For this reason, you should consider how many days you are willing to spend out bird watching and how long you plan to be there on average.

As you look at various backpack options you will also want to take into consideration the materials that you want to use. There are some lightweight backpacks and some that are made from strong, durable materials such as heavy-duty canvas.

A popular backpack amongst birdwatchers is the TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack. Check out the lowest price on Amazon.

Field Guide

When going out to bird-watch, it is important to have a field guide with you. The more specific the book, the better. A field guide can be a great tool for beginners who are just starting out. They offer many features that will help beginners identify species of birds they may see during their travels.

A local or regional guide will be more helpful than a generic one because they will include detailed information about different species that live in your area and what habitats they can be found in.

If you are traveling outside your home region, then get an international or global field guide as these provide basic information on many species around the world.

You can get one at a local bookstore or from an online source like Amazon. The National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America is an excellent guide and very detailed. Get the lowest price on Amazon.


Do I Need a Birdwatching Checklist? Most birders have noticed that many birds do not show up at the same time on many occasions. This is because they may be busy doing other things and thus we miss them or they may just not show up at all.

This happens to us when we do not follow up on some of the sightings we have had and they will go elsewhere when there is no more food available for them. This is when a good checklist will come in handy.

Once you have completed your birding trip you can take some pictures and use the checklist to list the locations that you visited along the way as well as the birds that you saw.

You can use this information in future bird watching trips if you plan to join the organizations in the future get yourself. Keep track of all your sightings with the Birder’s Life List & Journal available on Amazon.


Birdwatching is a fun and fascinating hobby. It can be done in many ways, such as going on walks with binoculars or even getting up early to see the birds at sunrise.

If you plan on doing birdwatching outside for any length of time, you might want to consider wearing a waterproof jacket that will keep you dry when it starts raining. A waterproof jacket should not just protect against rain but also provide some warmth if it gets cold out. 

Check out the Carhartt Boys’ Active Jac Quilt Lined Jacket Coat available on Amazon.


Hat will help you see more of what’s going on around you by providing protection by blocking out some unwanted distractions like sunlight or bugs.

A popular hat with birdwatchers is the LETHMIK Fishing Sun Boonie Hat Waterproof Summer UV Protection Safari Cap Outdoor Hat it is available on Amazon.

Proper Shoes

When you want to go on an outdoor adventure, then the first thing that you should be looking for is a pair of high-quality shoes.

Before you buy any pair of boots, it is important to determine your specific requirements. You may want to know how much time you can spend with your bird watching shoes.

You should also consider your budget and then narrow down your selection of shoes from a wide range of shoes. Then choose from leather, canvas, and rubber shoes.

Also, you should also think about your safety when choosing shoes. It is important that you are comfortable while taking your shoes off. Check out the KEEN Men’s Targhee II Hiking Shoe for the lowest price on Amazon.

Spotting Scope

Birdwatching is an enjoyable pastime that many people take part in. However, it can be difficult to find the birds you are looking for without a spotting scope. A spotting scope helps you see faraway objects and identify them more easily.

The spotting scope I’m currently using with great results is the Gosky 2019 Updated Newest Spotting Scope with Tripod and Carrying Bag. Find the lowest price on Amazon.


The next item that you should get for bird watching is binocular. Binoculars can help you find what you’re looking for, so it can be helpful if you have them. It also makes it easier to record your observations.

A pair of binoculars is also a must-have for bird watching. A super pair of binoculars is the 12×42 Binoculars for Adults with New Smartphone Photograph Adapter, this is on sale on Amazon.

Video Camera

Another piece of bird watching gear is a video camera. While it is not mandatory to have one of these, I would highly recommend that you do so, especially if you plan to spend a lot of time bird watching.

A video camera will enable you to watch the bird in action and learn about its behaviors in a more visual way than just reading about it in a book. The LCD Digital Binoculars with Camera does an excellent job. Get it on Amazon.

GPS Devices

Another piece of gear is a GPS device. These are excellent for pinpointing the exact location of the bird that you want to watch at a given moment.

The good thing about these is that they can also help you locate birds that are not so easily visible. Get the Garmin eTrex 22x, Rugged Handheld GPS Navigator for easy navigation. Get it on Amazon for the best price.

Digital Camera

One item that you will definitely need is a digital camera. Some cameras also allow you to download the images onto your computer or portable memory stick so that you can then view the image on your PC.

For a superior camera at the lowest price take a look at the Panasonic Lumix FZ80 4K Digital Camera Video Camera, 60X Zoom available on Amazon.


You may also want to purchase a binocular or camera tripod for your next bird watching trip. While you are taking pictures or videos, you may not be able to reach as far as you would like, which means that you will have to reach over and find a rock or a tree to use to set your camera on.

However, a tripod will allow you to keep steady taking pictures and videos. The KobraTech 70 Inch Tripod for Camera and Phone. Get this awesome tripod on Amazon.

Bird Feeder

A bird feeder is necessary when trying to attract birds. You can get the feeder and the bird food online from Amazon.

One feeder that I use myself is the Squirrel-proof Bird Feeder w/6 Feeding Ports does a great job of attracting all types of birds.


The birding gear that you need is going to depend on your needs and budget. Overall, there is a variety of different things that you can use to plan a bird watching trip, such as a tripod, binoculars, a digital camera, and several types of binoculars.

All of the above items should be included on your list because they are the most important pieces of gear to take for bird watching trips. It is very important to make a checklist when you plan a trip with your friends and family because this is the only way you will know what you will need.


  • Vince S

    Meet Vince, the passionate founder and author of Learn Bird Watching, boasting 30 years of birding experience. With an unwavering mission to empower fellow bird enthusiasts, Vince shares invaluable wisdom and guidance. As a dedicated moderator and contributor to Quora's Bird Watchers' Club, he actively engages with the birding community, where his insightful answers have garnered over 440,000 views and over 2,670 upvotes. Whether you're a budding birder or a seasoned avian aficionado, his wealth of knowledge is at your service.