The right binoculars make bird watching a completely different experience, allowing you to see fine details, appreciate colours even in shadows, and identify with greater confidence. We recommend following these tips to get the perfect binoculars for birding in Canada and the United States.
Determine Your Magnification Preference
Most bird watchers use either 8x or 10x magnification binoculars. Which you choose is entirely a matter of personal preference. 10x binoculars are much better for long distances, but they have a narrower field view, a slightly darker image in low light, and more noticeable hand-shaking. If you don’t do much distance birding, then 8x binoculars should work well for you.
Look for True Colour
Image quality is perhaps the most important factor when choosing binoculars for birding. Shop brands that are known for “true colour,” like Bushnell and Vortex. If you have the opportunity to test binoculars, try them out in low-light conditions to get an understanding of how well each product will work in the field—it won’t always be perfectly lit outside.
Check the Eye Relief
Most binoculars for birding have retractable eyecups to provide shading and protect your vision. You want a product with durable, easily adjustable eyecups. If you wear glasses, test the binoculars’ eye relief on their minimum setting; you shouldn’t see black rings around the image.