Do Spotting Scopes Make A Good Gift For Birders?

In short, yes, they do!

If you need to buy a gift for someone who enjoys birdwatching, a spotting scope can be a wonderfully thoughtful and useful idea, provided they don’t already have one, of course.

While binoculars are often thought of as being a birder’s best friend, for those who want to do more than spot birds that they can get close to, a spotting scope such as the Regal M2 100ED, can be just the thing. Ideal for viewing birds and other wildlife that may be in the distance, here is a brief guide to buying a spotting scope as a gift for a birder:

The numbers explained

Always represented by a pair of numbers and a single number, such as 20 – 60 x 80. Referring to the scopes zoom capabilities, or magnification, the first pair of numbers can mean 20x to 60x variable zoom, for example. The objective lens is what’s referred to in the second number, and scopes typically have lenses of 50mm, 80mm or 100mm.

What degree of zoom should you choose?

The majority of spotting scopes have variable zooms, that means you can adjust the magnification level manually when viewing, in much the same way as a camera. In general, the maximum magnification of spotting scopes is 15x to 60x, and if you want to observe a bird that’s far away, in great detail, you should choose a spotting scope with higher magnification.

What is the right size of lens?

If you want to see a bird in high definition, a spotting scope with a lens of 80mm or 100mm will give you that, as it can better gather light than a lens of 50mm or 60mm. additionally, with a larger lens, you’ll be able to enjoy a field of view that’s wider. It’s worth remembering however, that the bigger the lens you choose, the bulkier and weightier the scope will be to carry around. Ultimately, you’ll need to decide whether to gift your birder friend or family member a lightweight scope with slightly less clarity of vision, or a heavier scope with a greater magnification for a clearer, brighter viewing experience.

What else should you consider when buying a spotting scope?

Because dedicated and avid birders are often out spotting in all weathers, it might be worth considering a spotting scope with features such as waterproofing and fog-proofing. With features like this, the spotting scope can remain protected from water and humidity, while not fogging up just at the wrong moment!

A note about higher magnifications

It’s worth noting that if you choose a spotting scope such as a Celestron 20-60x60mm UpClose Straight Spotting Scope, even the tiniest of vibrations can cause the image you’re viewing to shake and shudder, giving less than perfect viewing. Because of this, a tripod is recommended, and you may want to add this to your birder friend’s gift, budget (and friendship!) pending.

Spotting scopes can make incredible gifts for birders, even if they’re an amateur, and if you want to buy a birding friend a meaningful gift that they’ll get a lot of use out of, you can’t go far wrong with a spotting scope.