Bird watching is a hobby that can be taken up by anyone, no matter what part of the world you live in. You can even be a birder if you live in the city. Once you stop to take notice of the birds around you, you'll realize that there are many species of birds that live in even the busiest metropolitan areas. But to be realistic, the majority of birds don't live in a city environment. Natural areas are the best locations for serious bird watching. If there is a wild bird magazine published for your area, you can get tips on where to look.
Outside the city, there are no restrictions on where you should look to find birds. All ecosystems have birds that frequent them: swamps, fields, forests, lakes and the open sky. Though you will find birds in all these places, you won't find all kinds of birds just anywhere. Birds like their particular habitats and will usually stay there. If you are heading out in search of a particular species of bird, find out what kind of area you're most likely to find it. No sense looking for a freshwater heron in an old-growth forest.
Around Bodies of Water
You don't need a boat to watch water birds. Though there are some bird species that prefer open water, most spend their time along the shore. If you're looking for ducks, you'd be surprised how small a body of water is sufficient for a duck. Even large puddles by the side of the road are attractive to a duck (or pair of ducks). Geese, ducks, herons, storks, and gulls are all found around water. If you live in the right climate, you might even see a flamingo or two.
Forests can be home to a multitude of bird species, but you will need a good eye to spot them among all the branches and leaves. There are far too many species to list that can be seen in a forested area. Not only do you need to watch the trees, but many bird species prefer to spend their time on the ground. Rustling in the leaves isn't necessarily a squirrel. Robins will dig through fallen leaves, as will quail, doves and pheasant.
An open field area offers unobstructed bird watching opportunities. Watch places that offer high perching spots, like shrubs, fence posts, or fallen trees. Sparrows, wrens and meadowlarks like grassy fields, and also frequent the wooded areas along the edges of these open spaces.
And don't forget your own backyard. You don't have to go hiking in order to go birding. A well-kept bird feeder or bird bath in your garden can attract a large number of birds right to your doorstep.