One of the biggest draws of bird watching as a hobby is its costs, or lack thereof. In addition to being  low-tech, birding is extremely inexpensive. After all, the main attraction is free! You simply cannot pay a rare warbler to fly over head, no matter how well-connected you are. Birds come and go as they please, and if it pleases you to watch them do it, you may do so gratis.

Filthy rich birders can find plenty of outlets for their excess currency, if they’re so inclined.  Optics are the main cash drain; the best spotting scopes cost nearly $2000, and everyone wishes they had them. Even decent binoculars will set you back a few hundred dollars. Any leftover money can (and probably will) be funneled into world travel. You didn’t think that toucans and motmots were just going to fly over your New Jersey home, did you?

But optics and globetrotting are luxuries that can be ignored. The best birding sites, like National Wildlife Refuges, are usually free or charge a nominal fee. Field guides or even larger books like the Sibley Guide to Birds present a small, one-time expense. If they’re too expensive for you, look up unfamiliar birds online. There is an abundance of birding resources on the Internet. Ultimately, money should never present an obstacle to those interested in birding. Like all of the best things in life, its nominal cost is dramatically outweighed by the pleasure it brings.

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.