ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Spring has finally hit and if you’ve ever wanted to take up birding, this is a good time to do it. With any new hobby though, it’s important to start on the right foot.

First of all, it’s important to talk the talk. Patrick Horley, aquarist at the Aquatic Conservation Facility at the ABQ BioPark notes the difference between bird watching and birding. “[Bird watching] is setting up a birdfeeder or birdhouse at your home and, as you are doing the dishes, you watch a chickadee…or something like that,” says Horley. “But ‘birding,’ people get serious about this stuff. They’ll spend weeks trying to track down a single bird. It’s all for their checklist. They’ll travel all over the place.”

What will you need when you go? Horley suggests grabbing a pair of binoculars and a bird book of birds of the southwest. Birding has also entered the modern era with online apps. Ebirds is an app created by Cornell University where users can track their finds on a real-time map and also ask questions to find out exactly what bird they are observing. “Through Cornell University, they do a lot of ornithological studies and so the information is collected by citizen scientists,” Horley says.

Horley suggests walking trails along the bosque and at Tingley Beach as a good start to your birding career. Right now, he says there are a lot of flickers, which are a type of woodpecker, along with kingfishers and to keep an eye out for more active roadrunners as spring takes full swing. “Here in the bosque, we’ve been seeing some bald eagles, which is nice to see that they’re doing well and there’s even a juvenile, so we know that they’re breeding,” says Horley. He says to also look out for ospreys at Tingley Beach and cormorants have come back “with a vengeance,” this season.

It’s important to remember while you are out birding to not disturb the birds or their surroundings. “The only thing that you’re taking away from nature is the memory,” says Horley.