10 tips to see more birds:
- Go out early
Birds are most active early in the morning. They are hungry and pay a bit more attention to their food then to people. The other reason is that later in the morning there’s a chance more people have passed by and scared the birds away and have become more illusive.
- Visit quiet corners
This is especially good to do later in the day as birds are looking for quiet places where they aren’t disturbed. So if you visit a reserve don’t spend your time near the main area where it’s more crowded with people but go out and take the paths that are less popular.
- Stand still
Sure you see some birds when you walk by but if you stop for a couple of minutes you be surprised by how many birds you would have walked by.
- Take your time
Just like the previous tip, but if you stay longer at a site (f.e. reedbeds) you might have a chance to see birds birds that normally stay well hidden (rails, crakes, bitterns)
- Go out with other birders
You always see more than by yourself but beware that you’re not distracted by short-talks ;)
- Follow flocks of birds
Many birds prefer the company of others for the simple reason 5, two see more than one, so it’s safer to be with other birds often you find small birds moving around in flocks. By following these groups you notice the variety of bird species in these group and that they attract other single birds.
- Stop at every group of birds
If you see a group of birds (f.e. gulls) it’s worth to stop and scan the flock. There’s a fair chance you find other interesting birds attracted by this group of birds for food or safety (large terns, waders, ducks).
- Scan the whole area
Birds can be everywhere so don’t forget the check every part of the area your looking at even if at first sight it looks empty.
- Learn to identify bird calls or songs
Identifying bird calls is the hardest and even the more experienced birders can’t always tell which bird it is they heard. In that case the best way to learn it is to check out which bird it is that’s calling. You can always try to learn them by browsing Xeno Canto for mp3 files ( http://www.xeno-canto.org/ )
- Check reported sightings of other birders
Nowadays the internet is filled with useful recent information / sightings and trip reports. You can check www.observado.org or http://ebird.org/content/ebird/ and for trip reports https://www.cloudbirders.com/