Travel Tips to Better Birding in Yunnan

Yunnan, the richest province for birds in China with over 770 species recorded including nearly 40 of the Chinese endemics and many species with ranges restricted to Yunnan, northern Myanmar and northeastern India. The best season for birds in Yunnan is during the northern winter, especially from December to January, when migratory birds come from further north. Late April to early May are the best seasons for many forest species. Top Places to enjoy wild birds are Kunming, Nianhu(Qujing), Huize(Zhaotong), Gaoligong mountainsXishuangbanna, etc. For giving you a better birding experience in Yunnan, here we collect some practical advice to find, identify and photograph wild birds.

Practical Advice for Better Birding in Yunnan

Tip 1: Do your homework and study the local birds. Read our field guide to understand the range of local species so we can better understand what we’ll see outside. 

Tip 2: Ignore plumage when looking at raptors from hawkwatch sites. Focus on shape and flight style from a distance instead. 

Tip 3: Concentrate on a bird’s size, body shape, bill shape and length, leg length and wing shape. After focusing on those traits, you can create a mental picture of each bird.

Tip 4: Take time to look at every aspect of the bird. When you find a bird, do not immediately try to identify it by turning over the pages of the field guide. Plenty of time to read after the bird leaves.

Tip 5: Bring a field notebook, which helps you to be a more effective birder. You may want to take notes or quickly sketch out what caught your attention.

Tip 6: Know the functions and limitations of your equipment. When using binoculars, practice finding a bird, knowing how to locate it.

Tip 7: Look with your binoculars while birding at hawkwatches. You can see the different flight styles of birds.

Tip 8: Have children practice using a spotting scope by looking at cars or stop signs. You can ask what it says and see if they can really see through the scope.

Tip 9: Learn how birds are related to their habitats. A lot of birds are very specific to certain kinds of habitats.

Tip 10: When you’re traveling by airplane, putting your binocular in one or two woolen watch caps to protect it from shock and moisture.

Tip 11: Consider all weather possibilities, and dress in layers before going out in the field.

Tip 12: While you’re out, just sit for a while and let the birds and nature come to you.

Tip 13: study your camera manual, know every button on your camera, and practice using the camera in your yard. Know the camera’s light meter and know how it reacts to shadows, dark birds, light birds.

Keep Reading:

Yunnan Bird Watching Tips for Beginners
Travel Tips for Birding Travelers in Yunnan
Top Places to Enjoy Wild Birds as Your Yunnan Birding Tour in Winter