Birding at Dusk
August 31, 2021
At Celestron, we’re big fans of prepping for your stargazing session before it gets dark. Dusk is the ideal time to take your telescope out. It’s much easier to assemble your gear when you have some daylight on your side. You don’t want to fumble around in the dark for accessories, or worse, sacrifice your night vision to search for something with a flashlight. If you need to align your telescope’s finder scope, do so using a land-based object before dark; it’s much easier than attempting it at night!
Once you’re set-up, you’ll have plenty of time for your equipment to cool to the ambient air temperature for more steady viewing conditions. As the light starts to fade, your eyes will easily, comfortably, and gradually dark-adapt for your best nighttime views.
But what to do while you wait? Well, why not add bird watching to the evening’s agenda? Birding is a fun, relaxing way to engage with nature and your observing companions. Getting started is easy.
Birding with your eyes and ears
The first sign that birds are around you might be a bird song or call. Listen for robins, sparrows, and mockingbirds, in particular, to perk up at dusk. Birding apps can help you identify the calls of the most common varieties in your area.
When it comes to spotting birds with your eyes, grab those astro binoculars! Their large objective lenses allow lots of light to pass through to your eye, making them perfect for the low light conditions of sunset birding. If you have a few binoculars in your collection, choose one with lower magnification when you’re first getting started, so you can more easily locate and follow the birds as they move.
Birds—and other flying friends—are active at dusk
Many people think of birding as an early morning hobby, but did you know that dusk is one of the best times to observe birds? After the calm of the midday heat, there is another burst of activity as birds get ready for nightfall, and you’re in a prime position to see it for yourself.
If you live in coastal regions, watch for shorebirds. Fish come up to the surface, and birds try to get one last meal in before dark. In other parts of the country, there’s another flying creature to watch for as night falls. Not birds—bats! These fascinating flying mammals exit their caves in huge swarms to start their evening activities. You can track and count them using many of the same tools and strategies that bird watchers use.