Your lifetime ticket to the theater of nature
Who we are
We're Michael and Diane Porter. We love to celebrate birds with all who treasure them. Birdwatching is a very good thing. For the people. For the birds. For the planet.
For people who are just waking up to the wonderful world of birding, we like to help. The more eyes are open to the beauties of nature, the better the prospects for our civilization. Indeed, our mission at Birdwatching Dot Com is to help human society evolve toward a sustainable relationship with our planet.
Good birding optics
Birdwatching requires excellent optics. To identify a bird, you need to see fine details. Your binoculars need to be sturdy and weatherproof. If you wear glasses, they need to be eyeglasses friendly. And hand friendly! So that it's easy to reach the focus knob without fumbling. You need quick optics, or you may miss the bird.
Visit our store, Birdwatching Dot Com.
We have good deals on binoculars, spotting scopes, tripods, and optics accessories. There are bird books, backyard birdfeeders, hummingbird feeders, and accessories.
We have a great selection of purple martin housing. And much more.
Find our online store HERE.
If you could use advice about which binocular to get, you can call us at 800-779-7256 and talk to a real live person. We're happy to talk with you and help you determine what optics will work for your particular requirements. We're also familiar with the books, bird feeders, and audio CDs we sell. We have tried them out personally.
This page leads to inks to Michael and Diane Porter's reviews of binoculars and spotting scopes.
You'll also find articles on the basics of birdings and fine points of using binoculars and scopes.
Diane's Nature Newsletter
My Gaia focuses on personal contact with nature. Especially birds, native plants, and other wildlife. Diane often writes about the land where she lives, in rural Iowa, but her posts have relevance everywhere. There is a free subscription option, which give access to all her posts. Nothing is behind a pay wall.
My Gaia, by Diane Porter
Here are a few techniques for enjoying birds more.
Suggestions on how your back yard can attract birds
by providing food, water, and shelter.
There are also identification tips for birds that can be tricky to recognize.
Binoculars of Note
A long-time favorite, still available, only from Birdwatching Dot Com ~ A great starter binocular. Find out how much fun it is to see birds through binoculars. Schools and organizations use this binocular for group birding experiences. It's easy to use, and it won't break the bank. Here's a plus — it's covered by an unconditional warranty that covers accidental damage -- even you drop them! There are special prices for groups wishing to buy The Shrike for classes and clubs.
Regular price: $129.95
Birdwatching Dot Com Special Price: $99.95
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Hands-on Review ~ It's stunning!
We've never seen a binocular with a shape quite like the NL Pure — as if made to fit your hand.
It has the widest field of view of any top binocular.
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Hands-on Review ~ It knocked her socks off when Diane first looked through
a Zeiss Victory SF binocular. How it felt in her hands!
How it fit against her eyes! She only wished it came in 32mm.
Now it does. Here is Diane's report.
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Spotting Scopes Reviews
Hands-on Review ~ It's a new choice in a pocket scope with top optical quality. At 34.2 ounces and 10.2 inches long, the new Swarovski ATC scope is a smaller version of the esteemed ATX scope line. Rest your elbows on a table and you can get by without a tripod at all. It fits in a photo-vest’s cargo pocket. (2022)
Hands-on Review ~ Kowa's new high-end spotting scope embodies the fluorite crystal objective lens and the fine engineeering that put Kowa Prominar scopes in the top tier of birding optics. With a 99mm objective lens, this is the biggest Kowa spotting scope. See how we like it compared to the 95mm Swarovski ATX scope. (2021)
Hands-on Review ~ In 2018, Kowa came out with a new 55mm Prominar travel scope. It is a remarkably small scope. It features the esteemed Kowa fluorite objective lens which has made the 88mm Kowa Prominar so popular. Here we compare the TSN-553 to four other travel scopes, including the economical Vortex Razor and the high-end Swarovski 65mm ATX.
Hands-on Review ~ The new Swarovski BTX Ocular Module lets you see through a superb spotting scope while using both eyes! Your brain is designed to compare images coming from two eyes to construct what you see. Using two eyes makes the image more real, richer, and more natural. Here is a guided tour through this revolutionary optical product.
Hands-on Review ~ Before Swarovski came out with their ATX/STX oculars scope system, the usual approach was to make a small eyepiece and a long body. Swarovski's completely new approach is a modular design divides the scope in a new and unique manner. With many advantages. This article reviews looks at the construction and performance improvements of Swarovski's design.
Hands-on Review ~ The Zeiss Gavia scope bears comparison to the Vortex Razor HD, both of which became availble around 2017. Both have 85mm objective lenses. Both focus using a textured band around the middle of the scope. Both cost in the $1500-$2000 range. This article compares their design and quality.
In the movies, somebody picks up binoculars and sees a sort of dumbell shape. Oh, so wrong! You want to see one image. Like you do in real life. Here is how to set your binoculars to get the right view.
Getting to see the big picture ... People who wear glasses can get cheated out of part of the image. A binocular should let you see the whole image. Yet some binoculars make lose the outer part of the image for a person wearing glasses. Here's how to tell if a particular binocular will work with your glasses.
More binoculars are ruined by bad cleaning technique than by being dropped. You've seen someone do it. Breathe on the binocular's eyepiece and then rub the glass with the corner of a shirt. Poor birder, he never knew he just degraded every image he would ever see with that binocular again. Here's the right way to clean your binoculars.
The main focus knob adjusts both the left and the right sides of the binocular at the same time. However, your two eyes may not focus at exactly the same distance, so you would be left with one eye slightly out of focus. In case yours eyes have such a difference, the diopter adjustment lets you change the focus of just the right side. Here's how to set it.
If your binoculars are not fun to look through, if they give you a feeling of strain or a headache, they may be out of alignment. Here's a simple way that you can test if your binoculars are grossly out of alignment.
You usually get a wider field of view with an 8-power binocular than you do with the same model in 10 power. A wider field of view makes it easier to spot a songbird among the branches (or a seabird on the waves. This is especially important in visually complex situations such as forest birding.
Wonder how binoculars work? Here's an easy demonstration you can do. All you need are two ordinary magnifying glasses and a piece of tracing paper.
This article discusses why most birders choose angled scopes rather than straight models. How it affects the steadiness of the image. Why it's easier to share the view. How it helps you look up or down.