Birding is such a fun and engaging pastime that it can be hard to imagine that there is any need for safety concern. However, just like with any outdoor activity, everything form sun protection to personal security should be taken into precaution. The following are some tips to keep you safe when you're out birding.
1. Watch where you're walking
Those who frequently go birding know that it is an all-absorbing experience. Birdwatchers have a tendency to get lost among their immediate surroundings. Because of this, it is extremely important to watch where you are walking to avoid tripping, bumping into things, falling and even to ensure you don't get lost. Stay engrossed in the activity, but also make sure you observe your surroundings as well.
2. Bring a friend
Because of the aforementioned, you may want to bring a friend. It's a lot harder to get lost when you have someone with you as a second set of eyes and ears. In general, it's not a good idea to venture out into the woods alone because of the wild aspects and unpredictability of nature. If you do go out alone, be sure to let someone know your route and carry a completely charged cellphone with you.
3. Keep your skin protected
Everything from an unwanted sunburn to bug bites can put a damper on a great day out birding on the trails. Be sure to keep your skin protected with sweat-proof/water-proof sunblock. Also, wear a hat to keep your hair and head protected from ticks falling from trees. Keep your pants tucked into your socks to avoid tick and chigger bites as well. Always remember to wear a good bug repellent if you are going deep into the woods and keep bandages and first-aid accessories in your trail pack.
4. Pack food and water
What may start as a quick hour out on the birding trail could quickly become a whole day excursion if the birding is good! Be sure to stay hydrated by bringing at least one water bottle and stay properly nourished while you're out by packing trail-ready snacks such as granola bars, fruit, nuts, jerky, and other on-the-go foods. You may also want to consider skipping the morning cup of joe before your hike to avoid frequent bathroom visits.
5. Keep your valuables hidden
Although most of the time it will be with you, your birding partner, and nature, sometimes thieves do target trailheads. Keep your binoculars and cameras hidden when you aren't using them.
6. Prepare for inclement weather
If you've ever heard the expression, "This weather is for the birds!" then you know that birds brave even the most inclement conditions. It's in your best interest to layer your clothing, have water-resistant boots or other footwear, and pack a poncho in your trail pack. You just never know when you'll need it.
With these useful tips and a little extra preparation, each one of your birding outings can be incredibly pleasant and eventful!