How to Go Birdwatching at Night to See Owls, Nighthawks, and Whip-Poor-Wills

There's a whole world of nocturnal species waiting to be seen.

When most of us think of birdwatching, we think of doing it during the day. After all, that's when majority of the birds in the area seem to be active. But did you know that there is a whole new version of the world that you can see at night? Some species of birds, as well as other flying animals like bats, are out and about after the sun has gone down. According to the National Audubon Society, you may see owls, whip-poor-wills, Chuck-will's-widows, nighthawks, Common Poorwill, or pauraque. It is a perfect time to get a pair of binoculars to watch the birds.

hiker watching birds at dusk
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Be prepared.

Before you go birdwatching at night, make sure to be prepared. Wear bug repellent and dress appropriately for the temperatures. If you are going into the woods to look for owls, you should invest in a good pair of hiking boots. Carry a flashlight and have a First Aid kit on hand. And, of course, don't forget to bring along some water and snacks for an all-nighter.

Research local nighttime birds.

You'll also want to research ahead of time which owls are local and which birds would be in flight after dusk. Get to know their bird calls and their behavior beforehand as well. This way you can identify sounds while out in the dark and find the best places for sighting a couple of nighttime birds. Optimize your evening by knowing the types of birds you may see and where to find them.

Bring a friend or two.

Birdwatching at night can have its own dangers. You will be walking in near perfect darkness and there are other animals besides birds out at night. Having a friend along could be the difference between life or death depending on the terrain and the weather. A friend or two will also make it even more fun. Help each other to identify and find the most birds.

Invest in night vision birding binoculars.

Get a clear view of birds without the need for light by investing in a pair of night vision binoculars for birdwatching. Try the Night Owl Pro Nexgen Night Vision Binoculars ($687.74,, which allow you to see in 100 percent darkness. You can keep a safe distance from the birds that you are watching while still getting a great view of them. See birds and other animals in low light conditions.

Disguise yourself in the dark.

Camouflage clothing can help you to hide better in the woods, or if you are doing this from a snowy climate, wear white to blend in the snow. When you approach an area where birds are located, be as quiet as possible. Why? Loud noises will scare the birds away or into hiding, which is not what you want when you are out birdwatching. Don't forget to put your phone on silent, too.

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