One of the questions we hear most often is about how to select binoculars and other birding gear for young birders. Here are some resources for you:
Binoculars and Equipment
There are many outlets for purchasing binoculars, spotting scopes, and related equipment and there are two Midwest-based companies that are excellent, offer competitive pricing, and are ready to help you select the right equipment for your young birder.
Eagle Optics (Middleton, WI) has put together a selection of binoculars that work particularly well for kids: http://www.eagleoptics.com/articles/optics-for-your-activity/binoculars-for-kids. In addition to this link, Eagle Optics has an extensive selection of equipment for all ages and skill levels. If you decide to make a purchase at Eagle Optics, they will make a donation back to Iowa Young Birders IF YOU ASK THEM TO DO SO WHEN YOU PLACE YOUR ORDER.
Birdwatching.com (Fairfield, IA) has a selection of birding starter kits with recommended binoculars, field guides, and more at different price levels. Michael and Diane Porter are known for their extensive testing and detailed reviews of equipment.
Both Eagle Optics and Birdwatching.com are friendly and expert in helping you select just the right optical equipment from among all the options. You can't go wrong at either place!
Here are additional resources about optical equipment:
Eagle Optics - A comprehensive list of everything you might want to know about optics...a great resource.
Optics4Birding - Choosing Binoculars for Kids
Outside Mom - Teaching Children HOW to Use Binoculars
Cape May Bird Observatory - Recommended Optics for Young Birders and much more.
For Everything Else
If you are shopping anyway at Amazon, if you start your shopping at this link, the Amazon Smile Foundation Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Iowa Young Birders whenever you shop on AmazonSmile. Your price doesn't change...and Iowa Young Birders benefits!
IAYB Logo Gear
Looking for hats, shirts and more with the Iowa Young Birders logo? It's all right here.
The binoculars we use as loaners on our Iowa Young Birders Field Trips are these two models:
From the Eagle Optics website: The Denali's solid chassis is built to keep pace with the avid outdoor explorer. Weighing only 21.9 ounces, with a generous 18 mm eye relief, the Denali 8x42 is easy to carry and comfortable to use when scanning for long periods. Don't worry about the rain or temperature—the Denali is protected with waterproofing and fogproofing. Covered by the Eagle Optics Platinum Protection unlimited, unconditional lifetime warranty, the Denali will keep you company on all of your adventures.
From the Eagle Optics Website: Beginner or experienced, young or old, and everyone in between will appreciate the performance of the Eagle Optics Kingbird binocular. The highly-regarded porro prism style of the Kingbird delivers an exceptionally wide field of view with sharp, rich three-dimensional views. Featuring twist-up eyecups and waterproof, fogproof construction, the Kingbird continues a classic tradition in a modern fashion. The Eagle Optics Platinum Protection unlimited, unconditional lifetime warranty guarantees your Kingbird will be around for generations to come.
OUR COMMENT: These models are good examples of making a wise choice in binoculars. Both are waterproof, solid quality and offer a very good image quality for the price. The Denali's are a little larger and work well with our older kids. The Kingbirds are lighter and fit better in smaller hands. In particular, the porro-prism design of the Kingbirds allow them to adjust to a smaller distance between the eyes for smaller faces.
We also REALLY like the Eagle Optics guarantee on these particular items. It's unlimited, unconditional, and transferable protection of Eagle Optics products.
Your best bet is to get on the phone with either Eagle Optics (800-289-1132
) or Birdwatching.com (800-779-7256) and get their expert guidance. Both of them offer these two models above and lots more.