The Secrets of Birdwatching Beach Birds 

Have you ever wanted to know what birds are commonly found at the beach? From seagulls to sandpipers, the beach is an exciting place to watch and identify hundreds of beach birds.  

One of the best ways to refreshen yourself and feel the ambiance of the ocean is to watch beach birds gliding by the waves and diving to catch fish. In this article, we are going to learn the things you need to know to make your birdwatching experience a memorable one.  

How to Watch Beach Birds  

Watching sea birds can mean looking at them fly out and about. It can also mean more, especially for birding enthusiasts.

For some, watching means identifying the species of birds, discovering their behavior, and noting down notes on various types and characteristics of birds. Here are some tips to help you have an exciting birdwatching experience on the beach.  

Bring along Your Binoculars 

A good spotting scope is useful for identifying birds in their habitat and for seeing birds at a distance. Bring a pair of binoculars with you when you visit the beach to get a closer look at the birds. This can help you identify different species and observe their behavior. 

Take Photos  

Great memories are made with pristine photos. Your trip to the beach can never be complete without a few photos of the ocean and beach birds. Taking photographs is a fun way of documenting your beach birdwatching experience and share it with others. A smartphone can do, but having a high-resolution camera can help you capture quality videos and pictures of birds feeding and courting off the coast.  

Join a Beach Birdwatching Tour  

Many local birdwatching groups or organizations offer guided beach birdwatching tours. These tours are led by knowledgeable guides who can help you identify different species and teach you more about the birds you are observing. 

When it comes to birdwatching, the best way to get started is to start with a tour. You’ll have the chance to see exactly what you’re looking for, without worrying about finding it on your own. Birdwatching is a great way to enjoy nature and exercise while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the ocean. 

Pick a Field Guide  

If you’re tracking or trying to film the behavior of a particular bird, find a print guide. Even for experienced birdwatchers, it can be difficult to identify various birds by their sounds, colors, shapes, wing sizes, and habitats. A comprehensive guide can help you know the specific species of birds.  

A guide will help you find the best spots for birdwatching in the beach, whether you’re on birding excursion or enjoying vacation. You’ll also get tips and tricks from your guide including where to find many birds or a particular type of bird.  

Types of Beach Birds  

Birdwatching can be a lot of fun and educational, if you know what you’re looking for and how to identify particular species of birds. When birding on the beach, here’s a list of common beach birds you need to know. 


Shorebirds consist of various species ranging from seagulls to stilts and sandpipers. These birds live and feed near the shore. Some land birds also belong to this group and can easily be identified by their webbed feet, waterproof feathers and short wings.  

Most shorebirds have unique preference for wet habitats and shorelines as they predominantly feed on crustaceans, insects, small amphibians, mollusks, and larvae. They have long legs which assists them in wading over water and bills adapted for probing for food in mud, sand, water, and gravel.  

Ther are over 180 species of shorebirds across the world and often engage in colorful displays during courtship and breeding. Some species such as plovers and willets are hunted as game birds, however, there are various regulations and licenses one must meet to begin hunting beach birds for fun.  


When you visit the beach, you’ll meet a family of birds including egrets, ibis, flamingos, herons, spoonbill, and storks. They’ve skinny and longer legs than shorebirds. This adaptation enables them to search for food in deep waters and also keeping them balanced in rough seas.  

These birds also have flexible, long necks and long bills to help them catch prey with ease. Unlike the independent shorebirds, most species of wading birds form communal roosts and breeding zones.  


While waders and shorebirds can live on land, seabirds spend most of their time in deep seas and oceans. They typically live on islands and cliffs bordering the sea. These marine birds have desalination filters in their bills that allows the birds to get rid of salt from the water they drink.

Because of the aquatic environment, seabirds have dense, waterproof feathers and thick layers of fat to keep them warm. Their wingspans, bone density, and feet shape is adapted to swimming, plucking fish from the water, and performing underwater dives.  

Where Can I Watch Beach Birds? 

The best place to watch beach birds is where you can find the many birds. Often these are remote beaches with minimal disturbance from the people. Birdwatching becomes more exciting as stick out farther into the sea.  

Avid birdwatchers recommend that you go early in the morning, when the sun is rising over the ocean and birds are just starting to fly off their nests and into the air. Some of the best places to watch and take photos of beach birds include:  

  • Whitefish Point, Michigan 
  • Point Pinos, California 
  • Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve, Newfoundland & Labrador 
  • Utqiaġvik (Barrow), Alaska 
  • Cape May, New Jersey 

This list isn’t conclusive, but these places have the best sightings for birds as they’re either nestled in a protected ecological zone or it’s an area where birds easily find food, shelter, and nesting areas.  


Beach birding can be a particularly rewarding activity, as many species of shorebirds and waterbirds can be found along coastal areas. By observing and learning about birds, we can gain a greater appreciation for these animals and the importance of protecting their habitats. Birdwatching can be a great way to relax and connect with nature while learning about different species of birds and their behavior. 

Many people find it fascinating to observe the different behaviors and characteristics of different species of birds, and beach birding provides an opportunity to see a wide variety of species in their natural habitats. Beach birding provides a unique opportunity to relax, connect with nature, learn about different species of birds, and connect with others who share a similar interest. 

Julian Goldie - Owner of

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.