Personally I’ve never been a big fan of doing two different activities when you go for a ride - least of all Birdwatching And Cycling. The main reason is that I didn’t want to carry, let’s say, binoculars, cameras… or just because the lycra clothes and helmet are not the best clothes to wear off the bike.
But times are changing with the amazing versatility and ease of use of the ebikes. Here's my take on ebiking and birdwatching, and what turned out to be a perfect combination!
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Yes, those wonderful electric machines allows you to haul things that any cyclist will consider heavy and bulky (locks, photographic gear or binoculars, for example)
Riding an ebike you are not usually sweating too much so you can wear any comfortable clothes, and bring extra clothes if the weather is not easy to predict.
Once riding a push bike you get some flow, so frequent stop & go are a little bit annoying. It doesn’t happen on an ebike, where you can return to a good speed quickly with the help of the motor. Amazing!
And what you need to birdwatch? Just one single thing: curiosity.
The first question to solve is what bird is the one you watch. There are dozens of ornithology guides (printed and apps) that can help you to identify.
For example, Merlin is a good app. Identifying a bird that just passed quickly in front of you is really challenging, but don’t get frustrated and start with common species easy to spot and get used to shapes, behaviors, songs, etc.
In any case, more than trying to get an exact bird identification, there are more questions that are interesting to ask, like
What is the bird doing (foraging, nesting, interacting with other birds, singing from a branch…)
In what kind of habitat is the bird (forest, prairies, wetlands, high altitude…) Is that their normal place?
Do you find some species much more common than others? It’s the time of the day affecting? The weather?
Birds of a Feather
And many questions that can motivate you to read more information about birds, and at the end, about nature, because once you start with birds, maybe you will be more interested in mammals…, plants...
Bird watching by bicycle is a great way to get outside, enjoy nature and get plenty of exercise! If you’re a budding birder, cycling is a fun, easy and environmentally-friendly way to get around and see more species. If you’re really big on biking, spotting birds as you fly along is just a beautiful bonus! - The Wildlife Trusts, Bird watch on your bike
We are living in a very competitive world, but nobody expects you to write a thesis. Curiosity will make you discover things that you didn’t know, and that’s a huge achievement.
But the most important thing: just go outside with the help of your bike and enjoy nature and specifically the intriguing world of birds.