Birdwatching courses for beginners launched in York amid dramatic surge in younger enthusiasts
But beyond those birds more commonly found in the garden, not everybody might know what they’re seeing.
Now, amid soaring interest from a younger generation, new birdwatching for beginners courses are launching in York.
From the basics of bird identification to the subtle art of fieldcraft, these new classes are aimed at nurturing a growing enthusiasm among a new generation.
He said: “More and more people are interested in getting closer to nature.
"There was a time we had less traffic, less noise, more people were getting out into the countryside - that interest has been sparked.
“The demographics have changed quite dramatically and there’s a lot of younger people coming into birdwatching now.
"While many people may want to start birdwatching but it can be difficult to know where to begin.”
The two eight-week courses are aimed as an introduction, with guidance on how to identify birds and how to find them in different habitats, their song and sounds and topography.
There will also be tips on resources such as field guides, apps and how to use equipment such as binoculars and telescopes.
One significant aspect is fieldcraft, learning how to read the lie of the land in approaching birdwatching in different environments from forests to marshes and urban parks.
This is key, said Mr Baines. While there are no set ‘rules’ to birdwatching, there are ways it can be done that will ensure better results.
Watching from the kitchen window or in gardens, it might be blackbirds or robins or sparrows that are spotted, he said.
In more urban environments, like the tall trees at York Cemetery where classes will be held, birds such as goldcrests can be found.
Outdoor field visits to places like Askham Bog, meanwhile, might yield a sighting of the more rare siskins, redpoll, or marsh tit.
Mr Baines said: “We have a very rich county with birdlife and habitats. But coming across a group of birdwatchers, with binoculars in hand, it can be quite intimidating to ask what a common bird is. This is about giving people the confidence to get out on their own or with friends and to learn the techniques to see birds better.
“It’s taking people through that journey. And the more you get into it, the more you learn and the more you want to learn.”
Sound can be important, in reading birds’ different calls and song, he added, while Yorkshire’s diversity is “fascinating”.
He added: “It opens up a new window on nature. Seeing the birds is a wonderful thing, sharing them is even better.”
Yorkshire Coast Nature is hosting two new eight-week birdwatching for beginners courses in York from April 4.
Part of the course will be held at York Cemetery’s new Harriet Centre, with indoor lessons alongside practical tips in the surrounding landscape.
There will also be field lessons, led by wildlife guide and teacher Margaret Boyd to share tips and tricks in the field.
To find out more visit www.yorkshirecoastnature.co.uk.
Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you'll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers. Click here to subscribe.