Optics

While it is possible to enjoy birds without any special equipment at all, there are two items which many bird lovers would consider indispensable: a field guide to identify birds and binoculars, without which many birds will remain vague, poorly seen, and as good as invisible to the inattentive. A good pair of binoculars will allow you to identify and enjoy distant birds as easily as the birds on your backyard feeder—and will also render those “close” yard birds more striking, individually distinct, and beautiful. Even if the only place you watch birds is in your yard, a pair of binoculars will add greatly to your enjoyment of the hobby as you learn to identify different species with ease, wonder at details you never noticed in the most common of birds, and above all develop an alert eye and the habit of visual curiosity—it is when you begin to constantly ask “what is that movement over there?” that you will see things you never realized existed.

 

How to choose binoculars

If you have never used binoculars, or if you have only used low-quality models, you may be surprised at the bright, clear images and the ease of use offered by even moderately priced optics. $110 worth of bird seed might last for months and attract a dozen species of birds to your yard, but a $110 pair of binoculars will last for many, many years and will open your eyes to hundreds of species of birds with a level of detail and enjoyment that is otherwise impossible. The best way to choose a pair of binoculars is to try them out for yourself and find what feels right: come into the store and experiment with a few different models. Take a look at the birds on our feeders as we guide you in how to use your binoculars with the greatest comfort and how to choose a pair that meets your needs and preferences.

 

Compact Binoculars

Compact binoculars offer smaller size, lighter weight, and generally lower cost than full-size models. While these smaller models generally offer similar levels of magnification as full-size binoculars, they have smaller objective lenses, resulting in less light-gathering capacity and darker images, particularly under low-light conditions. They are also generally less easy to use than full size models.

 

Vortex Vanquish 

Vortex Vanquish

  • Reverse Porro Prism
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Weight: 12.7 ounces
  • Available in 8x26 and 10x26
     

 

Mid-Sized Binoculars

For more demanding users, optical quality continues to improve as binoculars increase in price. Mid-range models such as the Eagle Optics Ranger or Vortex Diamondback are well-known among birders for their excellent value. This level of optics is fully satisfying for many users—these are certainly not “beginner only” models and will provide many years of enjoyment and excellent performance even under demanding use.

 

 

Vortex Diamondback 

Vortex Diamondback

  • A high-quality binocular at an affordable price
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Rugged rubber armour for a no-slip grip
  • Available in 8x42 and 10x42
     

 

 

Vortex Crossfire 

Vortex Crossfire

  • Newly designed optical system and housing
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Wide field of view
  • Available in 8x42 and 10x42 
     

 

Eagle Ranger ED 

Eagle Ranger ED

  • ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass for enhanced resolution, colour, and contrast
  • Excellent optics for its price range
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Close focus: 5.2 feet
  • Available in 8x42 and 10x42 
     

 

 

Vortex Viper HD 

Vortex Viper HD

  • HD (High-Density) extra low dispersion glass for impressive resolution and colour fidelity
  • XR fully multi-coated lenses
  • Locking diopter
  • One of the lightest weight full-size binoculars at 24.6 ounces
  • Available in 8x42, 10x42, and 8x32
     

 
 
Spotting Scopes

While binoculars for birding generally offer magnifications of 8x or 10x, spotting scopes magnify up to 60x. This additional magnification is essential for the viewing of distant birds, such as shorebirds or waterfowl, but can also greatly enhance your enjoyment of birds in your own yard. A scope trained on your backyard feeders will offer the magical sensation of a being only a few feather-counting-close inches away from the birds.

 

 

 

Vortex Viper Spotting Scope 

Vortex Viper HD Spotting Scope

  • HD (High-Density) extra low dispersion glass for impressive resolution and colour fidelity
  • XR anti-reflective coatings
  • 15-45x65
     

 

 

 

 

 

Accessories

Binocular Harness