It is no wonder that bird watching is amongst America's fastest-growing leisure activities. A recent US Fish & Wildlife Service survey claimed that more than 50 million Americans watch birds. After all, it is a healthy activity that lets you commune with nature and connect with fellow birders; it affords the occasional thrill of a rare observation, and you can do it anywhere. Besides, it's good for your conscience: supporting birding is supporting environmental conservation, for all the bigger sport optics firms contribute to environmental organizations (it is in their best interests).
As digital photography reached all American households, with everyone of every age owning a point and shoot digital camera or three, photographing birds via 'digi-scoping' also blossomed immensely. The two go hand in hand.
Once you buy the basics, birding has practically no recurring costs. Bird watchers need binoculars, first and foremost, along with a hat to shade your eyes without inhibiting the use of the binoculars. Most birders also carry a journal and pen to record observations, and a field guide to learn the birds.
A handy pocket-sized (4.6 x 7") weather-proof journal we carry is the Rite in the Rain Journal Spiral Notebook , which goes hand-in-hand with the Rite in the Rain All-Weather Pen. For making positive 'id's in the field, we carry the Penguin Book of North American Birds, which has illustrations of over 600 native species and a special listing of 100 rare finds.