Don't Worry, Just Relax
When I am bird spotting I do two things: relax my eyes and listen. Listening helps you hear rustling leaves, wings flapping, and the birds calling. It is pretty amazing what you can hear once you really start listening. Besides, if you spend the whole day just using your eyes to look for birds, you probably won't see very many. So instead of just looking, relax your eyes, don't look so hard; let the birds find you. You will start to notice movement in your periferal vision, and then you will have an area to look in.
Whenever you see movement from the corner of your eye or actually hear a bird, stop moving. Eventually the bird will call or move again. This will allow you to pinpoint it better. Now you can start scanning the trees and find it.
Do not stare though. Just relax again. When you concentrait on looking at something, the high resolution centers of your eyes cause you to focus on just that item. By relaxing, your periferal vision will come into play. Movement from the corners of your eyes will become more apparent. Rather then seeing specific objects, the eye will see more shapes.
Eventually the shape that doesn't belong will stand out. Pay attention to the thing that is out of place, rather than looking for a bird, A line that strangely angles opposite the way the branches angle will be back of a bird. A horizontal line in a field of tall vertical grass will become a deer's back. That sort of thing.
Remember, in bird spotting, movement gives them away every time.
This tip was provided by Scott Steeves.
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