What used to be called birdwatching, or the person who engaged in this activity called a birdwatcher, is now called a "birder."
Birders at Virginia State Parks
The definition of a birder from wikiis:
Birdwatching or birding is the observation of birds as a recreational activity. It can be done with the naked eye, through a visual enhancement device like binoculars and telescopes, or by listening for bird sounds. Birding often involves a significant auditory component, as many bird species are more readily detected and identified by ear than by eye. Most birdwatchers pursue this activity mainly for recreational or social reasons, unlike ornithologists, who engage in the study of birds using more formal scientific methods.
What do you need to do to become a Birder?
Let's look at the basics…according to Birding.com
#1 You will need a field guide for your area. A field guide is a book with pictures of the birds and tips for identifying them. The best book for new birders in the United States is the Peterson Field Guide to Eastern Birds or the Peterson Field Guide to Western Birds. When you become familiar with the birds in your area, you will want the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America 3rd edition. For young birders, we recommend Peterson First Guide: Birds. It describes 188 common and conspicuous birds and it won't overwhelm them with too many choices. You will also want to look at the new Stokes Field Guides.
#2 You need to know what to expect in your area. The giant woodpecker you saw in the woods was a Pileated Woodpecker, not an Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Checklists of birds in your area will tell you this. Many State and National parks near you have Checklists of the birds seen in the park.
#3You need a binocular to see the birds. You will soon discover an ironic fact. The best birders have the best binoculars — even though they can identify a bird 100 yards away by its silhouette. Newcomers with a cheap binocular see a fuzzy ball of feathers and don't have a clue which bird it is.
#4You need to be able to find the birds. To do this, you should learn about the habitat each species of bird prefers. Do they like to spend their time at the top of a tree or on the ground or on a lake? You should learn the songs of the birds in your yard. Later, learn the songs of other birds in your area of the country.
#5 bug spray, sunscreen, water, hat, and your camera
#6 Join a group of other birders. Birders are very friendly and helpful. They are always willing to share their knowledge. We were all beginners once. Start by calling the local Audubon Society, the local Nature Center or Parks Commission, or the local Bird Club. (http://www.cvwo.org/)
One recommended Birder's Paradise is Kiptopeke State Park.
Kiptopeke is an amazing place to watch birds
Kiptopeke State Park
Kiptopeke Birding Areas– Since 1963, Kiptopeke has been the site of bird population studies. Sponsored by theCoastal Virginia Wildlife Observatoryand licensed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, volunteers capture, examine, weigh, band and release resident and migratory birds each year from mid-August through November. In the raptor research area, hawks, kestrels, osprey and other birds of prey are observed and banded from September through November. Kiptopeke’s hawk observatory is among the top 15 nationwide.
Located on the eastern shore of Virginia, this park offers recreational access to the Chesapeake Bay and the chance to explore a unique coastal habitat featuring a major flyway for migratory birds. Kiptopeke is three miles from the northern terminus of theChesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, which has a substantial each-way toll charge, on Route 13. Turn west on Route 704; the park entrance is within a half mile. The park has an area for swimming Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Drive Time:(Bay Bridge Tunnel Traffic may extend time) Northern Virginia, four hours; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, 45 minutes; Richmond, two hours; Roanoke, five hours.
Click herefor a Google map. Latitude, 37.169934. Longitude, -75.979292.