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For the birds!

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#1 jrazz

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 07:16 PM

I'm more of a night owl (pun intended) so I rarely think about observing during the daytime. Sure I've tried solar and was immediately bored.
In this family, however, we are fans of those tiny feathers, flying dinosaurs - the birds.
 
I am terrible at taking pictures but I love looking at them. I have been loving the Canon 15x50is for birding simply because it's so easy to use and follow. 
 
There is a house not too far away from us that seems to attract a lot of pigeons and as I was observing them I had a revelation. I have a massive, exquisite, refined and huge binocular sitting on the wall just in the room behind me. What don't I use it to look at birds?!? Smart huh?
 
Well, turns out surprisingly disappointing. Whereas the Maven B6 10x50 is bright and colorful, the MMC warm and comfortable and even the Canon 15x50 is convenient, the BT was disappointing. Sure it's sharp and contrasty as would be any 100mm binocular but it showed a surprising amount of CA. Hard to see in the picture below but it is on par with the MB6. It's not really "bad" but for a SD binocular at 40x I kinda expected more. 
 
Hard to see but fringing was there.
bt100_bird_roof.jpeg
 
That being said it's still totally fun to track these burbs around and peer into their beady eyes from a distance.
 
Best of all, in the sun you can see just how gorgeous the BT-100 Pearl white paint is with its shiny flakes. 
BT100XLSD2.jpg

 

 

 

I know this is an astronomy first forum but do any of you use your astronomy equipment to look at birds? I'm half tempted to mount the Canon EOS DSLR to one of my Taks just to see what I would get!


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#2 alnitak22

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 07:32 PM

 

I'm more of a night owl (pun intended) so I rarely think about observing during the daytime. Sure I've tried solar and was immediately bored.
In this family, however, we are fans of those tiny feathers, flying dinosaurs - the birds.
 
I am terrible at taking pictures but I love looking at them. I have been loving the Canon 15x50is for birding simply because it's so easy to use and follow. 
 
There is a house not too far away from us that seems to attract a lot of pigeons and as I was observing them I had a revelation. I have a massive, exquisite, refined and huge binocular sitting on the wall just in the room behind me. What don't I use it to look at birds?!? Smart huh?
 
Well, turns out surprisingly disappointing. Whereas the Maven B6 10x50 is bright and colorful, the MMC warm and comfortable and even the Canon 15x50 is convenient, the BT was disappointing. Sure it's sharp and contrasty as would be any 100mm binocular but it showed a surprising amount of CA. Hard to see in the picture below but it is on par with the MB6. It's not really "bad" but for a SD binocular at 40x I kinda expected more. 
 
Hard to see but fringing was there.
 
That being said it's still totally fun to track these burbs around and peer into their beady eyes from a distance.
 
Best of all, in the sun you can see just how gorgeous the BT-100 Pearl white paint is with its shiny flakes. 
 

 

 

 

I know this is an astronomy first forum but do any of you use your astronomy equipment to look at birds? I'm half tempted to mount the Canon EOS DSLR to one of my Taks just to see what I would get!

 

Of course! My TeleVue Ranger was made to look at birds. In fact, the birding magazine Better View Desired had a big scope comparison and named the Ranger its Reference Standard, beating out high end spotting scopes from Pentax, Nikon, Swarovski…etc. My TV85 is even better,  though not as conveniently portable. But there’s a place at the end of Queens called Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge where I can set up the 85 by the water and there are just tons of waterfowl there. Birds of prey too including nesting Ospreys. In addition I live close to the Hudson River and there’s a nice little cliff area close where I can set up the 85 and a camp chair. Bald Eagles have been back along the Hudson more and more often the last decade and they are stunning to watch fishing. 


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#3 Barlowbill

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 07:36 PM

My 15X63 binos on a Paragon tripod lives in our living room, set up.  Wall of windows looks out over the neighborhood green area.  Lots of birds.  Always have Reds Shouldered hawks living back there.  There is a Hackberry tree right over our waist high fence.  Every winter we get Cedar Wax Wings moving through headed south.  They gorge on the berries.  Just yesterday we saw "our" Ground Hog.  We don't see it every year but lots.  We have been here almost 13 years.  Lots of ducks and geese at the pond.  Great Blue Herons and Rails.  Binos get used a lot for animal spying.  Love the Pleiades with then too.  I'd like to borrow your white monster.  Pretty 


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#4 cahanc

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 07:44 PM

 

I'm more of a night owl (pun intended) so I rarely think about observing during the daytime. Sure I've tried solar and was immediately bored.
In this family, however, we are fans of those tiny feathers, flying dinosaurs - the birds.
 
I am terrible at taking pictures but I love looking at them. I have been loving the Canon 15x50is for birding simply because it's so easy to use and follow. 
 
There is a house not too far away from us that seems to attract a lot of pigeons and as I was observing them I had a revelation. I have a massive, exquisite, refined and huge binocular sitting on the wall just in the room behind me. What don't I use it to look at birds?!? Smart huh?
 
Well, turns out surprisingly disappointing. Whereas the Maven B6 10x50 is bright and colorful, the MMC warm and comfortable and even the Canon 15x50 is convenient, the BT was disappointing. Sure it's sharp and contrasty as would be any 100mm binocular but it showed a surprising amount of CA. Hard to see in the picture below but it is on par with the MB6. It's not really "bad" but for a SD binocular at 40x I kinda expected more. 
 
Hard to see but fringing was there.
 
That being said it's still totally fun to track these burbs around and peer into their beady eyes from a distance.
 
Best of all, in the sun you can see just how gorgeous the BT-100 Pearl white paint is with its shiny flakes. 
 

 

 

 

I know this is an astronomy first forum but do any of you use your astronomy equipment to look at birds? I'm half tempted to mount the Canon EOS DSLR to one of my Taks just to see what I would get!

 

LOVE them Boyds!!  I bought my Kowa 883 specifically to use for both birds and at night in the sky.  I also bought the Kowa 1.25" eyepiece holder so I can use my different telescope eyepieces in it.  I use my Canon R5 mostly for birds but often at night as well, used it for the eclipse as I had to fly and couldn't fit telescope in carry-on.


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#5 alnitak22

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 07:50 PM

P.s.,….both my Orion 7x50 Scenix and 8x42 Ultraviews are great birding binoculars.


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#6 therealdmt

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 08:31 PM

I bought what turned out to be the main bino of my life almost 30 years ago specifically to look at birds. Just a cheap but nicely compact 12x25 I came across for sale on a table in an outdoor market in Asia right when I had been thinking I needed a binocular for checking out the local birds while I was traveling through. Over the years, I’ve carried it from Australia to New England, used it in jungles, seashores, mountains and even suburban backyards. Lots of great birds seen and enjoyed. The last particularly interesting one that is popping to mind was a hoopoe (a very cool bird). Over time, this bino got more and more time under the stars too (a great starhopping aid), though I’ve now mostly moved on to a newer small binocular (an 8x32) for lightweight use. My wife was just using the old 12x25 to check out some chickadees surprisingly building a nest in our beat up old bird box that had been sitting ignored for the last two years.

 

Also, birding was the main use of my childhood Bushnell 7x35s (actually the family binocular, but most of its use ended up being by me, the birder, astronomer and sports fan of the family)


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#7 mountain monk

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 08:46 PM

Yes, I use my 10x and 8x binoculars and my AT 80mm to look at birds, most recently a magnificent golden eagle and a flock of snow buntings and swans. And wolves and mountain sheep—47 of them today. The 80mm has been a revelation for close-ups and behavior.

 

Dark skies.

 

Jack


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#8 Sky King

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 10:04 PM

 

I'm more of a night owl (pun intended) so I rarely think about observing during the daytime.  
 

 

I was watching the stars and this bird was watching me! 

 

Desert owl.jpg


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#9 Milos1977

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 11:43 PM

"The owls are not what they seem" 🤫

 

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Edited by Milos1977, 13 April 2024 - 11:44 PM.


#10 DeanD

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 11:43 PM

 

I'm more of a night owl (pun intended) so I rarely think about observing during the daytime. Sure I've tried solar and was immediately bored.
In this family, however, we are fans of those tiny feathers, flying dinosaurs - the birds.
 
I am terrible at taking pictures but I love looking at them. I have been loving the Canon 15x50is for birding simply because it's so easy to use and follow. 
 
There is a house not too far away from us that seems to attract a lot of pigeons and as I was observing them I had a revelation. I have a massive, exquisite, refined and huge binocular sitting on the wall just in the room behind me. What don't I use it to look at birds?!? Smart huh?
 
Well, turns out surprisingly disappointing. Whereas the Maven B6 10x50 is bright and colorful, the MMC warm and comfortable and even the Canon 15x50 is convenient, the BT was disappointing. Sure it's sharp and contrasty as would be any 100mm binocular but it showed a surprising amount of CA. Hard to see in the picture below but it is on par with the MB6. It's not really "bad" but for a SD binocular at 40x I kinda expected more. 
 
Hard to see but fringing was there.
 
That being said it's still totally fun to track these burbs around and peer into their beady eyes from a distance.
 
Best of all, in the sun you can see just how gorgeous the BT-100 Pearl white paint is with its shiny flakes. 
 

 

 

 

I know this is an astronomy first forum but do any of you use your astronomy equipment to look at birds? I'm half tempted to mount the Canon EOS DSLR to one of my Taks just to see what I would get!

 

I suspect that the reason the image was less than perfect was not entirely the fault of the BT: when you are looking over a dark-tiled roof in the daytime there will always be some image degradation due to thermal currents from the roof, even if the temperature difference is only minor, and this will affect you a lot more at 40x than at 10x or 15x with your smaller binos...

 

... and yes I often use my astro equipment to check out the wildlife during the day. My TV76 is magic for this, and so are my binoculars of course. I don't generally use my 12" dob though...

 

Have fun!

 

- Dean


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#11 paulsky

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 03:35 AM

I've a 20x80ED binoculars... Ahh!! Magnific for the birds and terrestrial mammals!! 



#12 Tony Flanders

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 05:13 AM

I know this is an astronomy first forum but do any of you use your astronomy equipment to look at birds?


That's a funny way of phrasing it. I think of all my binoculars and monoculars as multipurpose instruments; in many cases it seems more natural to say that I'm using my birding equipment to look at stars.

 

In general the smaller instruments tend more toward daytime use and the bigger ones more toward astronomy. But I've used my Canon IS 15x50 plenty for viewing birds, and often use them for viewing distant scenery. And I've viewed plenty of stars and deep-sky objects with my 6x15 monocular.

 

I also use my smaller refractors fairly often for terrestrial viewing. One of my most memorable views through my Tele Vue Ranger (at 60X) was a sea otter eating a large fish on a rock off the California coast.


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#13 Harry Jacobson

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 08:34 AM

A lot of people on this forum suggest the Sig 10x30 that I use are for the birds. My direct experience with them shows me that, au contraire, they are an excellent 24 hour 10x30 instrument.



#14 Harry Jacobson

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 08:50 AM

I also use my smaller refractors fairly often for terrestrial viewing. One of my most memorable views through my Tele Vue Ranger (at 60X) was a sea otter eating a large fish on a rock off the California coast.

Upside down and mirror reversed. I’ve been spoiled by right side up binocular viewing. I’m looking at spotting scopes now for portability, larger apertures, and magnification than what I have.



#15 Rich V.

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 10:04 AM

Upside down and mirror reversed. I’ve been spoiled by right side up binocular viewing. I’m looking at spotting scopes now for portability, larger apertures, and magnification than what I have.

I would assume Tony was using a star diagonal; so equipped, a scope's image is only L/R reversed but still upright, which is relatively easy to accommodate, just like it is on stars.  I can't think of anyone who would enjoy upside down terrestrail views.  wink.gif


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#16 Dfresh

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 10:08 AM

I have been using my Athlon Midas 12x50,s to look at my feeders lately. The extra power really brings out the detail. Fine hand held for quick peeks. I have 4 pairs of different magnifications lined up right now for testingsmile.gif Migration is getting good around here right now with the first warblers arriving. 


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#17 Harry Jacobson

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 11:24 AM

I would assume Tony was using a star diagonal; so equipped, a scope's image is only L/R reversed but still upright, which is relatively easy to accommodate, just like it is on stars.  I can't think of anyone who would enjoy upside down terrestrail views.  wink.gif

Yeah, duh. I haven't used a telescope in a long, long time...



#18 Scott99

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 11:30 AM

I have set up and used my Star12 ED f/8.5 refractor for birds several times, when I used to live right next to a huge salt-marsh mud flat area...works great!

 

Taking astro binos/refractors out during the day can be a harsh reveal on the false color.  What you may not have noticed at night turns into purple fringing all over the place during the day. 

 

I like astronomy best but all of my binos get more use on birds than astronomy, even the 10x56.  FWIW.  It's massively cloudy here!   If you want to use your fancy glass it has to be during the day too.   Other nature viewing, coastal, mountains, boats, all of it looks good waytogo.gif



#19 alnitak22

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 11:30 AM

Yeah, duh. I haven't used a telescope in a long, long time...

Harry…I’ve tried correcting prisms with my refractors for birding but find I prefer the TV star diagonals. A lot of times just around twilight is a great time for birding in my area and the brighter image in the Everbrite helps in that situation. One quickly gets used to the reversed image and following birds that way. It’s no trouble for me to follow hawks and eagles in flight in my refractors. I even have no trouble following the occasional F15 fighter jet along the Hudson, though that took a little practice!


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#20 Tony Flanders

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 02:11 PM

I would assume Tony was using a star diagonal; so equipped, a scope's image is only L/R reversed but still upright, which is relatively easy to accommodate, just like it is on stars.  I can't think of anyone who would enjoy upside down terrestrail views.  wink.gif

Actually, back in my childhood when I owned a 4-inch reflector I use it a fair bit for terrestrial viewing -- though I never really got the hang of using it on the night sky. You can get used to upside-down views surprisingly easily.


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#21 sevenofnine

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 03:38 PM

Love those birds as much as the stars...I always have. I love to photograph them too but rarely with astronomy optics. It's just to hard to get good results...for me anyway. I prefer a much easier tool like the amazing digital zoom camera, the Panasonic FZ300. Built in image stabilization and good zoom capability to 1000mm. Digital enhancement out to 2400mm. I would never get a shot like this with other equipment. They just fly away wink.gif

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Edited by sevenofnine, 14 April 2024 - 03:58 PM.

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#22 gwd

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 04:30 PM

Yes.  I read in a book about birding that binoculars and spotting scopes displaced shotguns as ornithological instruments a long time ago.  Audubon the famous bird illustrator would sometimes shoot the birds first then use wires to truss them up in what he thought were lifelike poses as models for his illustrations.   After reading that, I got a new feeling when I see a reproduction of one of his bird illustrations.   What is good about using higher powered optics for wildlife viewing is you get to observe their behavior un polluted by their concern for your presence. 


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#23 alnitak22

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 04:47 PM

Love those birds as much as the stars...I always have. I love to photograph them too but rarely with astronomy optics. It's just to hard to get good results...for me anyway. I prefer a much easier tool like the amazing digital zoom camera, the Panasonic FZ300. Built in image stabilization and good zoom capability to 1000mm. Digital enhancement out to 2400mm. I would never get a shot like this with other equipment. They just fly away wink.gif

Great shot! These little herons are crafty and voracious. 



#24 vdog

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 09:23 PM

I watched a pair of hawk nestlings grow up in a tall pine near my home last spring, using my Oberwerk binoculars and WO 90 refractor.  Really cool. 

 

And, of course, it's not just the hawks but blue jays, woodpeckers, robins, doves, and many others.  


Edited by vdog, 14 April 2024 - 09:24 PM.

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#25 tmichaelbanks

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 09:29 PM

I have occasionally used my AT72EDII for backyard birding with a Baader prism diagonal for correct image viewing and a Hyperion Mark IV zoom eyepiece. Images are comfortable and CA-free. But having done that a few times I can see the argument for a smaller, lightweight spotting scope and a lightweight tripod or monopod. Dragging out the scope and pieces and the OB5000 and head may be grab-n-go for stargazing, but our feathered friends wait for no one. And of course I'm fearful of getting caught in the rain, which as Scott99 points out is getting to be much more frequent here in New England than even in the recent past.

 

Tony's recent thread about using a Celestron Hummingbird mini spotting scope with his hiking pole and a tiny ball head looks like a nifty alternative. Or instead of a hiking pole maybe a monopod with the three short feet at the bottom.


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