The Best Gear for a Bird-Watching Trip

Whether you’re just peering at the sparrows in your neighborhood park or searching for California condors in Pinnacles National Park, the right tools will help you both see the birds and identify them. From a pair of binoculars that one ornithologist called good enough to rival his own professional-level pair, to a wide-brimmed hat that’ll come in handy should you find yourself waiting for that condor to actually show, this list will set you on your way.

Amazingly affordable with great optics, these binoculars have comparable performance to many models that cost thousands more, giving you up-close views from far away.

Wait, what was that bird that just flew past? A good birding book puts the information you need to identify a bird at your fingertips.

The time it takes to swap a lens could make you miss your shot entirely. This lightweight autofocus camera lets you zoom in fast.

Bird watching? Sometimes it’s more like bird waiting. Take shelter under this UPF 50+ hat, which is so airy, you could easily forget you’re wearing it.

The best combination of paper quality, durability, style, availability and ruling options that may actually fit in your pocket.

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