One of the great joys of birding is seeing birds clearly through binoculars… here are
a few tips how to set them up and a couple of ways to use them.
If you are picking up binoculars for the firsttime.
There are a couple things you might want to think about before you even look at a bird.
First, check to make sure that the distance between the barrels lines up with your eyes.
You’re shooting for one circular image when you look through the lenses.
Next, take a look at the eyecups….
If you are wearing glasses, you’ll want the eyecups rolled down.
If you don’t wear glasses, keep them rolled up.
One last thing that can cause trouble….
Is the diopter. It’s a feature to help compensate for the differences between your eyes, but
if it’s not set correctly you’re not going to get the clear view you are looking for.
Find the diopter adjustment, usually near the right eyecup---You can either make sure it’s in the center,
or set it for your eyes.
Set the diopter by covering the right eye and turning the focus wheel so that your left
eye is focused on a fixed object.
Make sure it’s nice and sharp.
Then cover your left eye and look at the same object thru the right eye.
If it’s not sharp adjust the right eye diopter accordingly.
And you’re set!
From that point forward you will not need to make this adjustment again, but make note
of where you set it in case it gets moved out of place.
When you spot a bird, keep looking at it and lift the binoculars to your eyes.
Then turn the focus wheel until the image becomes clear.
It’s not a bad idea to practice this a few times even if you aren’t looking at a bird.
Scanning is another great way to find birds….
Even if you don’t already see a bird you can use your binoculars to help.
Let's say you are searching a lake for water birds.
Lift your binoculars and focus them on the horizon or the far side of the lake.
Then slowly pan across the landscape.
But be ready for the unexpected bird to pop up….
You want to be able to dial that focus in quickly and enjoy the view.
A good pair of binoculars is your most important tool for spotting birds….so
find a pair you like and take them with you on your next adventure.