A Walk on the Wild Side: Wildflowers

Spiderwort. Photo courtesy of Michael McDowell.

Many birders are also astute naturalists; their draw to the outdoors is not limited to feather and wing. Sooner, rather than later, the curious birder discovers a fascination with flora and fauna where their main quarry is found. One such area of study and appreciation is wildflowers, with their limitless shapes, colors, frequencies, and diversities. A well-managed prairie provides one of the best places to appreciate wildflowers; from spring to fall, fields virtually transition from one dominating color to the next.

Naturally, optics aren't required to appreciate wildflowers, but if you want to observe a wide variety of pollinators, a pair of close-focusing binoculars will come in handy. You're likely to find spiders, butterflies, dragonflies, and other interesting arthropods. Over time, your knowledge of what constitutes a healthy ecosystem will advance. Walking through a field in bloom can also be therapeutic—it doesn't always have to be a rigid lesson in natural history. There's a certain peace and exhilaration one can experience while surrounded by a beautiful landscape comprised of wildflowers.

In addition to the simple pleasure of looking at wildflowers, you might also want to photograph them. These captured memories can be rewarding and enjoyed through the winter months. So the next time you're out birding—take a look around!

To find a binocular for viewing wildflowers, view our Staff Picks.