Choosing Binoculars for Bird Watching

Written by on September 26, 2016 in Bird Watching, Bird Watching Equipment with 1 Comment

Choosing-binoculars-for-birChoosing binoculars for bird watching in our backyards is a matter of understanding 4 factors. Taking each into account will help you make the right choice for your own bird watching needs.

The factors are distance, size, weight and price. Each is explained more fully below to help you make a better decision. I’ve included examples of binoculars from my own experience.

Choosing Binoculars for Bird Watching: Distance

One of the first things you need to ask yourself is how far away will you be from the birds. This distance factor will matter quite a bit. I have several bird feeders located fairly close to my house. I want to be able to see the whole birds and watch what they are doing. What I don’t want to do is see if they have nasal discharge. That means I need a pair of binoculars that are better at close range.

That also means that I need a lower number of magnification. The first number of the binoculars tell me the magnification. Which means the number of times the view is increased compared to the naked eye. The longer the distance you want to see, the higher the magnification.

Size and Weight

I put both of these factors together but they are a bit different to consider. There is a light-gathering lens in binoculars. That size is listed as the 2nd number. So that a 7 x 32 listing on a pair of binoculars means the lens is 32 millimeters in diameter. These will be both smaller and lighter than a pair of binoculars that are 45 millimeters.

Who will be using the binoculars? Children won’t be able to easily handle a large heavy pair of binoculars. Nor will they be able to keep the binoculars steady enough to see a bird in the distance. Even adults may want to hold the binoculars steady for a long period of time as they focus on particular birds and behavior.

For more information and videos on binocular sizes, Eagle Optics has a good explanation with more technical information for you.

You’ll want to get a pair of binoculars that will help you see birds, but won’t be too heavy or large to hold for very long. So this pair of size and weight go together.

Price of the Binoculars

Of course, price is usually a consideration. If you want binoculars for your backyard bird watching, you don’t need a professional grade pair. You’ll want one that is less expensive and more appropriate for casual use.

In choosing binoculars for bird watching, you may consider getting more than one. A less expensive one for up close use at home, but a better distance one for nature walks or seeing birds that are much further away. You will be able to see more of what you want to see.

Each of the binoculars I’ve included here are good for home use. They are ones I have myself, or given as gifts, so I know their value for the backyard bird watchers. There are, of course, many more options. But, I can recommend each of these myself.

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  1. Cynthia says:

    Over the years, I have owned several different set of binoculars. It is always good to have a recommendation and review of binoculars before you buy them. Price in binoculars is definitely not a good indicator of quality.

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