Birdwatching, or birding, is a form of wildlife observation in which the observation of birds is a recreational activity or citizen science. It can be done with the naked eye, through a visual enhancement device like binoculars and telescopes, by listening for bird sounds, or by watching public webcams.
Birdwatching often involves a significant auditory component, as many bird species are more easily detected and identified by ear than by eye. Most birdwatchers pursue this activity for recreational or social reasons, unlike ornithologists, who engage in the study of birds using formal scientific methods.
Birdwatching or birding means going outside to enjoy watching birds. It is a popular hobby. Someone who does this is called a birdwatcher or birder. These two words mean the same thing, but people who spend a lot of their time watching birds, taking their hobby seriously, are more likely to call themselves “birders”, while “birdwatchers” may just be people who like watching birds when they happen to go for a walk. Both birdwatchers and birders are usually amateurs. The scientific study of birds is called ornithology. People who study birds as a profession are called ornithologists.
Birdwatching (or birding) is very popular in countries such as Britain and the United States. It can be especially rewarding in spring when a lot of birds are singing and building nests to raise their young. In spring and autumn many birds can be seen as they migrate. In winter some other kinds of birds may be visiting from colder areas such as the Arctic where there is no food in the winter.