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The Eco Trek

Binoculars

Every birder needs a pair of binoculars.  If you’re just starting out, see if you can find other people with binoculars and practice using theirs before you spend any money.  You will want to start out with a fairly simple pair and, if you get more serious about your birding, graduate to a more expensive pair.  If you buy a used pair of binoculars, try them out first before buying.
The numbers on a pair of binoculars refer to the magnification and the degree of light they let in.  For example,  6×30 means that they magnify the image 6 times, and the 30 is the aperture, which is a measure of the light they let in.  The higher the number, the better you can see the bird in dim light, for example, in a dense forest or at twilight.
Take good care of your binoculars.  They are a fine instrument, and should be cleaned carefully with a soft cleaning cloth, available at birding or optical shops.  Never let your binoculars get wet, especially in salt water.  Salt will ruin them permanently.  If you do get caught out in the rain, put your binoculars into a Ziploc bag with lots of rice, and put it in a warm (not hot) oven for an hour or so, or overnight.   This usually dries them out.
Most serious birders graduate to a higher magnification and aperture.  If you want to change to a better pair of binoculars, why not give your old pair to a young birder just starting out?

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