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Tools & Technology: Binoculars

Photo by Chris Linder, WHOI

You can tell a serious bird biologist by his or her binoculars. These lightweight optics are indispensable for identifying strange bird species, reading numbers engraved on flipper tags, spotting distant penguins, and scouting the horizon for signs of blizzards. Good binoculars are compact and made with high-quality glass lenses with a magnification of around 10x. Special coatings on the lenses make the images incredibly bright and crisp – in low-light conditions the images can be brighter than your own eyes can make out. They're reinforced so they won't break if you drop them, and they're waterproof so you can keep working in bad weather.

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