colors not to wear when birding

Colors Not to Wear When Birding: Know the Facts

Avid birders always go above and beyond to watch their favorite birds and collect information about them. There are several factors to consider when you’re birdwatching, and one of them is related to choosing the clothes you wear. So what are the colors not to wear when birding?

You should avoid wearing any bright colors that don’t match your surroundings or call unnecessary attention to yourself. Wear natural colors that won’t agitate or alarm nearby birds.

You can wear any type of clothes and still be able to see birds. However, certain types of clothes can make bird sighting easier. Keep on reading to learn more about the colors that you shouldn’t wear when birding.

Colors Not to Wear When Birding

Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus)

Birds are unique and sensitive creatures, and if you want to get close enough to watch them, you need to make sure that you’re following the right steps and packing the right tools. In addition to your binoculars, compass, GPS, maps, and notes, you also need to be dressed right for birding, so you can get close to the birds without driving them away.

Author Note: The first thing that you should do is to study the habitat and the environment. Your goal is to blend well with the environment, so birds won’t feel threatened and will fly comfortably or rest on closeby branches, so you can watch them for hours.

The colors you choose for your birding outfit can have a significant impact on your birding experience. Some clothing colors might startle birds and drive them away, so you won’t be able to watch them closely.

When you’re out birdwatching, you need to stay away from bright colors. Exceptionally bright colors like neon colors will definitely alarm some birds and make them uncomfortable.

White is another color that you should avoid when you’re birding. Birds usually view white as a sign of danger. As a matter of fact, some birds even avoid white flowers because it’s a color that signifies aggression.

In some cases, wearing something shiny like silver will also drive birds away. People usually use shiny sheets of fabric and shiny objects to keep birds away from their backyards.

Bird Friendly Clothes

Unlike us, birds can see the UV rays, and reflective fabrics will make them sense the danger. Always wear comfortable and breathable fabric that doesn’t reflect the rays, so the birds won’t be able to locate you.

You need to wear colors that blend into the habitat of the birds, so they won’t feel threatened. It’s crucial to study the area where you’re birdwatching. If you’re birding in rural areas, camouflage colors with hues of light green and beige will work best.

If you’re birding in grasslands, in shady forests, or around areas with heavy vegetation, you need to pick clothes that are darker shades of green and brown. Stick to gray and shades of light blue and off-white if you’re watching birds next to bodies of water.

The only exception is when you’re looking for hummingbirds. Unlike other types of birds, hummingbirds are attracted to bright colors.

Wearing shades of yellow, pink, red, and orange will usually tempt the birds to come a bit closer, so you can have a better view. While they’re flying, the birds usually look for bright colored flowers, so they will come closer if you’re wearing something colorful.

How to Choose Clothes for Birding

Two chickadee birds sit on a tree branch in winter.

Before heading on your upcoming birding trip, there are a few things that you need to take into consideration. In addition to packing the right gear, you also need to make sure that you’re dressed perfectly for the activity, habitat, temperature, and season.

Author Note: Wearing the right clothes won’t only guarantee your birding adventure’s success, but it will also keep you comfortable, so you can enjoy your time to the maximum. The next time you go birding, follow these tips while choosing your outfit.

  • Always choose functional clothes. Pick cargo pants with big pockets, so you can keep your notes and any other tools that you might need while birding. The belt loops can be used to carry knives and any other accessories that might prove necessary. Birding vests are also functional because you can keep your necessary tools within reach.
  • Avoid wearing shorts and short-sleeved t-shirts, even in hot weather. This will protect your skin from mosquito bites, bug stings, and the sharp twigs that might hurt your skin as you find your way between the trees. In hot weather, you should focus on choosing a breathable fabric to cool your body off without having to expose your skin. Long clothes will also protect you from potential sunburns.
  • If you’re expecting the temperature to be too hot, you might be interested in wearing convertible pants that zip at the knees. These are versatile pants that double as shorts whenever you want them. All you have to do is to unzip the pants when you feel hot and then attach the lower part when the temperature drops.
  • Pick a comfortable size. When your clothes are too tight, you won’t feel comfortable and might not be able to move properly. When the clothes are too loose, your clothes might get trapped in twigs or branches. If possible, try several sizes until you find the perfect fit.

Prepare for Everything

  • Go for layers on long birding trips. Wearing clothes that are too heavy might be restrictive, and you will probably go home earlier than planned if you’re too cold. Layers are practical because you can remove a layer if the temperature increases. You can also pack an extra jacket in your backpack for an emergency.
  • Choose sturdy boots with enough ankle support, as you will probably be exploring the trail for extended periods. Make sure that the outsole is slip-resistant, and choose a comfortable insole to absorb the shock. Wearing proper shoes will allow you to spend more time looking for birds without feeling any pain or discomfort.
  • Waterproof boots and clothes are perfect for birding because they don’t get affected by the rain showers. You will be able to enjoy your birding trip without worrying about the rain. You should also make sure that the laces aren’t too long to avoid tripping.
  • If you expect the temperatures to drop significantly, you should consider wearing thermal clothing. Thermal underwear and socks are extremely beneficial, especially in cold weather or if you’re birdwatching early in the morning.
  • Avoid wearing new shoes on a long birding excursion. They might not be that comfortable and might lead to skin chafing or cause painful blisters. Always wear your shoes and clothes several before packing them for a birding trip to avoid discomfort.
  • Don’t wear loud clothing or anything that might startle the birds. Some clothing items can be too loud, like squeaky sneakers or nylon jackets. These items might seem elegant, but they will alarm the birds, and you might not be able to get close to them. Birds have very sensitive ears, and buckles, accessories, and zippers can be too alarming.

Pay Attention to Hunting Season

Pair of Fischer's Lovebirds (Agapornis fischeri) birds
  • During the hunting season, you should follow other guidelines while birding. For example, you might have to wear a bright hat or stick a bright piece of cloth to your outfit to make yourself visible.
  • It might not be recommended to buy exceptionally expensive clothes for your birding activity. Avid birders will have to get into the mud or rub against the bushes to get a good view of the birds, and your clothes might get dirty or even torn.
  • Protect your head and wear a hat. It will protect you from the strong sun, especially if you’re spending a lot of time away from home, and it will also allow for a better disguise. However, very big hats might not be the best for birding as they might get tangled in the branches or obstruct the view.
  • Avoid wearing any clothes with UV reflection. While they might be comfortable in hot weather, they will actually alarm the birds and send them away.
  • Quick-drying fabrics will work for birding. Your clothes might get wet because of the dew, showers, or rain, and picking clothes that dry quickly will make you more comfortable.
  • If possible, bring a change of clothes. You might also get a change of socks in case your feet get wet.
  • When you’re washing your clothes, avoid using a detergent with a brightener. The birds can be too sensitive to the brightness and might be driven away by the bright colors.

Wrap Up

Investing in the right clothes is just as important as investing in the adequate and necessary equipment and gear if you’re into birding. Your first focus should be on comfort and functionality, as you need clothes that allow you to move comfortably and spend long hours birdwatching without feeling any discomfort.

Author Note: Birds are sensitive creatures, and some colors might drive them away. Avoid wearing shiny clothes or white fabrics that can startle the birds. You should also stay away from bright colors that can make you too visible.

You should always stick to camouflage colors that allow you to blend with the environment. These include gray, brown, green, and shades of beige and blue. If you’re interested in watching hummingbirds, you should probably stick to bright colors. Unlike other species, hummingbirds are always attracted to bright colors like red, orange, and yellow. We hope you found this article on the colors not to wear when birding useful.

Fly high friends!


Is bird watching good for your health?

Absolutely. Bird watching gets you off the couch and into the countryside. It has been proven over and over again that being in nature, seeing animals and hearing bird song is great for your mental health. The physical activity is good for you too.

Is bird watching an expensive hobby?

No, it costs nothing to go to your local park and look in the trees. Serious birders spend a lot of money mostly on traveling to specific places to see birds but that is when it becomes a way of life rather than a hobby.

Do birds know they’re being watched?

They surely do. Try an experiment yourself. Walk past some birds without changing your walking speed and keeping your head facing away from the birds and see what they do. Try is again and look at them as if you are a bird watcher. Chances are they will carry on with their business in the first case and fly away in the second.

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