Bird watching is an activity that nearly everyone can participate in, unless you live underwater - but even then you can see pelagic diving birds or diving ducks or fishing cormorants or even underwater flying penguins!
You can travel far and wide to see birds or simply step out in your backyard, your deck - heck even city folk can watch birds. NYC has pale male (red-tailed hawk) and there are cities that even have peregrines! Those who bird-watch can be referred to as birders, twitchers (Brits) or simply, you guessed it, a bird watcher.
Bird Watching Equipment
The only essential piece of bird watching equipment would be a good pair of bird watching binoculars, that is if you want to see more details and be able to identify birds from a distance. Some people, though, can be just as content sitting in a lawn chair, viewing birds from afar. But if you want to learn to bird identification, then you'll at least need a pair of bins (that's birder talk for binoculars). You may also want to get a spotting scope for longer distant viewing such as on a beach for shorebirds, in wetlands for ducks/other waterbirds and perhaps on migrations routes for raptors.
Feeding birds is one of the easiest ways to brings birds in close for your viewing pleasure. There's lots of different styles of bird feeders as well as many different kinds of bird seed to attract the species you desire. There's also a responsibility on your part to create a safe feeding environment for your birds, including, but not limited to: preventing window collisions, disease and against predators such as cats.
You can witness lots of bird behavior and a big part of the life cycle by erecting a bird house in your backyard. But just as people like different kinds of houses, so do birds. So correctly building your house will increase your chances of inviting the bird species that live in your area. Location, location, location is also a big part of putting up a bird house. You can learn more here and build your own by using these free bird house plans.
Hummingbirds, nature's little flying jewels, are a bird-lover's delight. Even non-birders can say they enjoy watching hummingbirds. Awwwe, their so tiny and cute and pretty...and they move faster than lightening! Want to learn more about feeding hummingbirds, migration (No! They don't ride on the back of geese!), create your own habitat, and mix up your own hummingbird nectar recipe? Follow the links!
Bird Watching for Children
Bird watching is a great activity for children. You can start here by having them learn their state bird and have fun with realistic bird coloring pages. You don't have to teach them how to ID Empidonax flycatchers from the start. Let them enjoy watching birds from afar. They can learn about bird behaviors, bird biology and eventually (if they want) how to identify birds by sight and song. Get out and take a hike! Birds are everywhere!