Mark's Favorite Bird Watching Gear

Maui Jim, Tilley hat -

Mark's Favorite Bird Watching Gear

Over the years, I spent a lot of time in the field birding and studying our natural world. During that time, I have grown to appreciate the proper equipment to make life more enjoyable while out in the elements. As a field trip leader, I get lots of questions about the gear that I use so I thought I would put some of my suggestions down on “paper”.

I’m going to start from the ground up. Dry, comfortable feet are essential for spending time in the field. I am a firm believer in spending a little extra to ensure by feet stay dry. My preferred foot gear is a good pair of Gore-tex® lined boots from ECCO. Melanie likes this pair of Ecco boots.  They truly wear like a tennis shoe with the support of a great hiking boot. If you don’t want to go with that level of boot, I do like a waterproof Merrill hiking shoe.

For my legs during very cold weather, I love my fleece-lined pants and coveralls from Carhartt.  Birding around water in the winter can be brutal and this is when you truly appreciate these fine accessories. For warmer or changing weather conditions, I prefer Columbia cargo pants with zip-off leggings. These are truly wnderful when the mornings are cool and the afternoons are warm.

A good coat is essential and again I always have a Gore-tex® rain coat in my truck. Cold is one thing, wet is another but cold and wet is just not acceptable. I have always had luck with weather gear from North Face, Columbia and Patagonia. My current parka is a 3 in 1 North Face version that gives great flexibility with the zip out liner.

I always have three sets of gloves in my truck. Weather can vary greatly so I like to be prepared for the situation that Mother Nature is throwing at me. For the coldest conditions I prefer the gloves with a Thinsulate, flip-top mitten to cover the fingers. My current versions have “slits” that I can poke my thumb and first finger through to focus my binoculars and spotting scope with.

I am rarely in the field without a hat of some type. My hats of choice are Tilley hats. They are the only hats endorsed by the Mayo Clinic for skin cancer protection and they provide excellent shade from glare. I have a LTM6 lightweight hat for warmer weather and TTW2 for winter birding. The winter hat has fold down ear flaps and even a forehead warmer. Tilley’s are sized hats and I highly recommend trying on several to get the one that fits you correctly.

To protect my eyes from intense sun, I recently discovered how great Maui Jim sunglasses are. Not only are they fantastic at cutting down the bright lights, you can order them with “reading” lens cut into them. They have been wonderful since my cataract surgery last year.


Happy Birding!



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*FTC Disclaimer: Some of the links listed in this description are affiliate links. This means that I may receive a commission should you decide to click that link and make a purchase. Please be assured, however, that unless otherwise stated, I purchased all items used in this video with my own money. This video was not sponsored and all opinions are genuinely my own. NONE of my content is influenced by any brand, YouTube content creator, PR product donations, or direct monetary compensation. I only recommend products that I love and regularly use myself.