A binocular gives you two things that neither your eyes nor a spotting scope can
supply simultaneously – the little details and the big picture.
A binocular brings the world of birds and nature closer
to you, magnifying and enhancing it for a leisurely inspection of every tiny detail.
It makes things clearer – so you can see more . . . and see more easily.
When you see things with both eyes simultaneously, as you
do with a binocular, your visual acuity is at its peak. Your brain blends your eyes’
two separate images into one three-dimensional image. It’s an image that shows you
up to 40% more detail than you can see with either eye alone.
Because of its wide field of view, a binocular is ideal
for those close-in to medium distance birding situations that deserve a broad picture
window view of the action, rather than just the glimpse through a peephole that
you get with a spotting scope. Some examples from around our house are the Cardinals
at the feeders outside our kitchen windows year-round, the Cedar Waxwings 50 feet
from our living room cheerfully passing berries from beak to beak along the pine
branches in the winter, and the Red-Shouldered Hawk 150 feet east of our deck riding
the updraft above the crest of the hill on which our house sits. All of them are
images that need a wider field of view than a spotting scope can give.
For relatively nearby birding, your eyes can supply the
big picture, showing you a row of Waxwings on a backyard branch, for example – but
you might be too far away to make out the white and yellow wing spots that mark
the difference between Cedar and Bohemian Waxwings. A spotting scope can show you
those identifying marks on a single bird, but at the cost of losing the entrancing
sight of the whole row of birds passing berries from one to another.
A binocular does both. It makes the field marks bigger,
so you can tell what kind of Waxwings you’re watching, while still keeping the whole
gregarious berry-passing crew visible in a wide-angle view.
A binocular can be used from a car, a kitchen, a hammock, on foot – anywhere and
at any time. There’s no need to take the time to set up a spotting scope tripod
to observe some fleeting image of nature – simply lift your binocular to your eyes