Birding has a reputation for being a serious pastime for people, one that can require showing up with printed spreadsheets and a pair of $700 binoculars in hand.

Don't lose sight of the fact that the hobby of bird watching comes down to the simple fact that it can be enjoyed practically anywhere by anyone. Step outside, just look around and open your ears because chances are, there are birds about. Being aware of the birds outside your doorstep is an easy way to understand and experience nature.

Follow these tips and enjoy the fun that your local birds can bring you:

Bring your phone and help scientists: Download eBird and during your next outing, log the birds that you see. If you come across an unfamiliar bird, the app can help you with identification. Even better, the information that you log may be useful to researchers and scientists to help them understand how the environment affects bird populations.

Just watch. You don’t have to go far. Just pause, look and listen. If you’re lucky, you’ll see birds carrying out their lives. In the spring, watch for signs of nest-building and courtship. In the summer, you may see some puffy juveniles shaking their wings and begging their parents for a bite to eat. In fall and winter, watch and listen as they gather in sometimes massive flocks to prepare for migration or forage for food. It’s all out there to watch, wherever you are.

Take a little drive: The migration season is right around the corner, and in some areas of the country, people gather to observe large convergences of birds. For some, it’s an opportunity to catch sight of a rare species, while others just find it wondrous and breathtaking. Do a simple online search for best fall migration viewing in your state, and you should find plenty of guided hikes and programs, usually hosted by nature centers, state parks, and Audubon groups.

Keeping your feeders well stocked with fresh, high-quality food for wild birds is a sure way to draw a flock. Lyric Delite No Waste Mix lets you enjoy the sights and sounds of nature in your neighborhood, minus the messy shells and unsightly weeds.

Window feeders are inexpensive and a great way to get an up-close look at your local feathered friends.