Sunday, May 3, 2009


One of my favorite things to do during spring and fall migration is to get on my bicycle and go birding! Birding-by-bike is truly a wonderful experience and I think it is one of the best ways to bird an area that you would otherwise drive. There are some challenges when birding-by-bike though. For example, how do you carry all of your birding gear – you know binoculars, scope, tripod, field guides, water, and a few munchies. As you can see in the photo below, I have attached an expandable bike bag on to the rear fender of my bike and I fill it with small essentials and munchies that will carry me through a ride. I then strap my scope securely on top of the bike bag and place a field guide in the back pocket so that it is handy.

I use a Cordura tripod backpack to carry my tripod. It has padded shoulder straps and a zippered pocket that allows me to carry more stuff but I do not use this pocket when birding-by-bike because I do not like having anything poking me in the back as I am peddling. Once the tripod backpack straps are adjusted and the tripod legs are fully retracted it is a comfortable set up. To complete my set up, I strap my binoculars over my shoulders and the tripod backpack so that I can use them with relative ease during the bike ride.

On my first birding-by-bike trip, I had my scope attached to the tripod, which I then carried on my back. I learned very quickly that that was not a good set up since the scope was constantly whacking the back of my head! In addition, carrying all that weight on my back while biking was taxing so the set up I use now suits me just fine.

While birding-by-bike, you hear and see so much more than you would from your car and you have greater freedom of movement to explore areas you may otherwise drive by. For example, on a birding-by-bike trip that Mark and I led just yesterday morning we were able to listen to and watch a small pocket of warblers flitting among the shrubs before moving on to our next stop.

We were also hearing and seeing birds in-between our stops that we would have otherwise missed if we birding by car. Mark and I are fortunate that some of our friends also enjoy birding-by-bike and they are eager to join us on our trips, rain or shine.

I cannot think of a better way to spend a morning in May!


  1. I'm so glad I found your blog. I was at Kim's blog, The Curious Birder, and saw you little kayak icon. Since I like kayaking, I stopped by. I do a lot of my birding on the Little Miami Bike Trail. It's a river corridor and a magnet for migrants in the spring--and while biking, you can hear just about everything. Great blog!