Read incessantly and be sure to balance it with time in the field.
Use MountainNature.com to help you learn to observe. Only through careful observation can we
ensure that today's encounter becomes a stepping stone towards future
Any worthwhile sighting is also worth recording. Keep a journal of your
sightings to help you leverage previous experiences and make
the most of future sightings. And don't forget to record your sightings
in Mountain Nature Network's Sightings Database.
Temper observation with respect. We all love to watch animals, but these
same wonders also mean that they are sensitive to disturbance. Ethical
naturalists make sure that their experience doesn't leave a negative impact
on bird and wildlife populations.
Don't rush to an identification. To become
an expert, you need to watch, wait and learn! While you observe, make note of specific details. If you are watching a bird, what is its beak
shape? Are there any markings on its head, wing or body? How does it perch?
Where is it? Sometimes the best key to a positive ID is its location. You can
often distinguish between two similar species by habitat.
Share your knowledge! Help other naturalists and outdoors people take
advantage of your sightings.
Help current research. Most biologists work with extremely limited
budgets, and even more limited resources. A single radio collar comes with
thousands of dollars in monitoring costs. Making your observations available
to researchers can have a great impact at marginal cost.
Become active in the preservation of the resource. Support conservation
initiatives and organizations.
Use all the tools available to you, including field guides, web sites like
MountainNature.com, and the expertise of those with whom you share
your outdoor experiences.
Join naturalist associations and become part of a community of like-minded