Best Birding Optics: Reviews of Birding Spotting Scopes & Glasses

birding optics

You don’t need bird watching binoculars to enjoy birding! Discover the best birding optics besides binoculars with reviews of birding spotting scopes & glasses.

When it comes to watching birds soar across the skies, the options you have for birding optics are many. Sure, there are plenty of binoculars that are made specifically for observing birds in flight, but there are other devices available to you, too.

Ornithology is an age old study, enjoyed by enthusiasts for centuries, if not millennia. Gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation of nature gets us one step closer to Mother Earth. Birds are some of the most graceful and cherished inhabitants of our planet, cutting through the clouds and alighting on the limbs of trees with unmatched elegance and poise.

It’s no wonder that people devote so much time to their study.

One of the most important tools in any bird watcher’s equipment bag is a pair of good binoculars. But there’s more to it than just that. Much, much more.

Birding Optics: Binoculars and Beyond

So, what besides binoculars can the birding enthusiast use to get closer to the action?

Monocular Devices

Especially good for spying on nearby nests or foraging birds, the monocular device is great to have in your back pocket for any nature observation. These are far less powerful than binoculars, but offer a high portability that can’t be beat.

Spotting Scopes

Like the monocular device, the spotting scope uses a single objective lens for observation. Where they differ is in power—and in weight. The spotting scope can be much larger than the monocular tool, but it offer views that are much clearer and farther away.

Night Vision Binocs

These are technically binoculars, but they allow you to do much more than a standard pair would allow. There are certain kinds of birds that only take flight during the post-dusk and pre-dawn hours. Some owls, for instance, are only in their true element after the sun has departed the sky. With night vision devices, you can see them at work and at play even when the light level is far too low for a regular pair of binoculars.

Digital Camera Specs

These interesting devices combine the technologies of binoculars and digital cameras to create a unique sightseeing experience. Now you can share the sights you take in with your friends and family at home. Simply use the binoculars to focus in on a bird or nest and then snap a photo with the internal camera. Then, presto! You have a memory that will last forever.

Birding Optics: Best Brand Names

When it comes to buying birding optics other than binoculars, your options are wide. Most popular manufacturers also carry lines of scopes and monocular devices to choose from. To help you narrow down the list, here’s a look at some of the companies whose wares are the best to browse through.

  • Leica – This is an expensive brand, but their products are more than worth the price. Leica spotting scopes are among the most advanced in the industry. If you can afford to get your hands on one, you’ll be a supremely happy camper.
  • Steiner – Steiner creates some of the best birding binoculars in the market—with the Peregrine and Merlin lines—but they also have a collection of scopes that are perfect for your ornithological needs. And their prices are affordable, too.
  • Eagle Optics – Eagle Optics is great at providing a wide range of products for bird watching. Their standard compact binocs work great, they make binoculars specifically suited to children, and their scopes and monocular devices are wonderful. And despite their high quality, their prices are even lower than Steiner’s.

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About Perry

Perry Rosenbloom is the Binocular Dude. He's been an avid birdwatcher since he was 5 years old and bird watching with his Grandpa. You can learn more about him here.




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