Binoculars are one of a birdwatcher's most important pieces of equipment. There are plenty of different models to choose from, so how can you find the right pair?
It's not easy – it's often a game of trade-offs.
For those just starting out, read our practical guide to assist you in making the right choice.
There are many options for the magnification level of your binoculars – affecting how large the birds appear when you look through them – but bigger isn’t always better, and benefits can also come with drawbacks.
The size of the lens influences three things: weight; brightness; and field of view. The greater the lens, the heavier the binoculars, the brighter the image and the larger the field of view (meaning that it is easier to find birds).
It is difficult to find a pair of binoculars suitable for regular use that cost less than $500. Before you buy, it’s worthwhile to ask your retailer whether they will give you a BirdLife Australia member’s discount; some BirdLife branches have existing arrangements with a local dealer.
When buying binoculars, bear in mind that you get what you pay for: cheaper models may quickly go out of alignment, with no options for repair. Their coating may deteriorate and give you an image that is tinged pink or yellow. Eventually they may take in water or dust. We recommend getting a pair that has at least a 10-year warranty and is waterproof, so they can be cleaned easily.
No matter how careful you are, binoculars sometimes get damaged, and then the question is how long can you live without them while they are getting fixed?
Expensive, top-end binoculars should be repaired for free, but there are varying standards of processing, and repairers may (or may not) provide you with a spare pair in the meantime. Ask owners of expensive pairs for their advice and past experiences.
In the end, your binoculars need to feel right for you. They must fit your nose and your hands so you can hold them tightly and with good balance, and that really comes down to personal preference. This may not be such a big issue when you are buying a mid-range pair, which are largely similar in build, but if you’re after an expensive pair, you’ll definitely want some that feel right for you.
BirdLife Australia has been working on black-cockatoo recovery actions since 2001. In Western Australia, we are working with local communities, landholders and land managers to secure the protection and conservation of the three species of black-cockatoos across the South West.
Urban sprawl has a huge impact on native birds. BirdLife Australia's Urban Bird Program protects birds and their habitats across our rapidly changing and expanding cities.
Conservation starts in your backyard. The plants that we choose for our gardens can provide most, sometimes even all, of the food, shelter and nesting resources that urban birds require. So when you are deliberating over which plants to add your garden, it’s useful to consider the following.