If the birding world was part of the television industry, this would be the “prime time”, “must see”, sweeps time of year for birding in the upper Midwest. Everyday we get first hand reports from Mike McDowell’s morning explorations. Amazement best describes my reaction to the number of birds Mike reports seeing right here in southern Wisconsin. My birding world has expanded to warblers (like this Magnolia Warbler photographed by Mike) and way beyond the much loved backyard visitors. Like my birding knowledge, sport optics companies have broadened the performance options to provide the most desirable birding binocular.
My favorite line of birding binoculars comes from Vortex Optics. The Stokes Birding Series offers distinct optical performance which birders enjoy. Starting with the moderately priced Stokes Talon up to the top of the line Stokes DLS, users have found their bright images and wide fields of view a definite asset in all situations. More and more customers are finding an exceptional value and a strong performance with the Stokes Talon. It offers a field of view of at 420 feet/1000 yards and a brightness that has our customers coming back to purchase a second pair. The mid-priced Stokes Broadwing has developed a following among new college graduates heading out to work as wildlife ecologists. Its optical execution and the Vortex VIP Warranty make the Broadwing a splendid choice for the new professional. The crown jewel of the line is the Stokes DLS. This binocular is ergonomically pleasing, offers an amazingly clear and bright look at nature, and an exceptionally smooth focus wheel. Best of all, the DLS has a $100 rebate on purchases made by December 31, 2007. With the Vortex VIP Warranty, I think of the Stokes binoculars as binoculars for a lifetime.
Two long time favorites for birders are the Nikon Monarch and the Eagle Optics Ranger SRT. These binoculars offer a lot of performance for the money and have such good reputations among birders, they pretty much sell themselves. The Nikon Monarch comes with a lifetime No Fault Warranty (fixes anything for $10) and the Ranger has our Eagle Optics Platinum Protection Warranty. When comparing the two binoculars, the Ranger’s 5 foot close focus is preferred by butterfly watchers and its 340 ft./1000 yd. field of view offers an extra 10 feet for following birds in flight. Call us at 1-800-289-1132, as we carry many manufacturers and want to be sure to find the right binocular for your needs.
When covering birding binoculars, we have to talk about the binoculars all of us “must see” at least once. Superb performance can be found in the Leica Ultravid 8×42, the Swarovski 8.5×42 EL and the Zeiss Victory FL 8×42. From an optical standpoint, all of these provide a splendid view no matter what your location or viewing target. Zeiss has added a new Lotutec* coating which offers unbeatable lens cleaning performance. The Ultravid, EL and Victory all offer fields of view from 389 to 405 feet/1000 yards. The three binoculars vary by a little over an ounce in weight with the Victory being the lightest weight and offering the best close focus. The Ultravid wins for being the most compact size and the EL has a focus wheel which I think is so precise, you will never miss seeing a bird because you couldn’t focus quickly enough. Our Eagle Optics staff has lots of fun trying to find some minute performance differences, but owning any one of these three would make each of us very happy.
In our never ending quest to provide top of the line customer service, we have added the American Express Credit Card as a payment option. You will now have this additional choice when you go to check out or when you call us to place an order. With the excitement of migration, please remember to keep your sport optics equipment locked and out of sight when you are not using it. I have at least one call a week from someone who has experienced the theft of their equipment. You may think it is so old and beat up no one would want it. From what I am hearing, the age and condition doesn’t matter. So take extra care and have a wonderful time during birding’s “prime time”.
Eagle Optics Staff