Aren't Birds Brilliant scheme at Seaford, Sussex

Maintaining bird watching equipment

Having chosen your new binoculars or telescope, how do you get the best from them?

How to care for your kit

As these are the most expensive tools for birdwatching, it is worth taking a little time to learn how to achieve the best results and keep them in good working order for years to come.

  • When you first get your binoculars, you could discard the lens caps as a case is usually adequate protection; fix the strap and the rainguard. They are now ready to use. If you do not use them regularly, store it in the case away from any dust.
  • When out in the field, leave your case in the car or at home, but it is useful to keep it for travelling and storage.
  • After using your binoculars in the rain, always wipe them dry. If moisture has got inside, leave it in a warm place to dry. Never open it up and do not put it back in the case until it is fully dry. Treat a telescope in the same way.
  • Clean the lenses as little as possible. Use a lens blow brush to ensure there are no grains of sand and salt present which would scratch the lens, before wiping the lens with a clean lens cloth.
  • If your telescope has interchangeable eyepieces, change them as little as possible every time you remove the eyepiece, dust will get into the telescope.
  • The most common fault with any pair of binoculars is being knocked out of alignment. No matter how well-made your binocular is, if you drop or knock it, it may need realigning. This is easy enough to do but should be carried out by a trained repairer. The owner often does not notice a slight alignment fault, so ask a friend to check your binocular occasionally.
Chris Bailey looking out over rape field with binoculars