Clothing designed with the birder/wildlife observer in mind!
They sent us one of their “Peregrine” long-sleeved T-Shirts to try out… here’s how we got on.
Do birders really need special clothing?
The first thing that crossed my mind when Wunderbird contacted me was “why?”. When it comes to breathable, lightweight, quick-drying outdoor gear you’re not exactly lacking for choice. And besides, when I head out birding I tend to just grab any old t-shirt and wear that under whatever additional layers (usually several) dictated by the Irish climate.
So what benefits would this newfangled, specifically designed top offer?
The “Peregrine” long-sleeved t-shirt I tried comes in three colour options: blue and grey, two-tone olive green and sand. I tested the olive green option, which seemed the most muted of the colour options available, and best suited to the Irish landscape. It is very well made, is light, flexible, breathable and apparently repels biting insects… a boon when travelling to warmer climes or during the summer midge season.
These are all things that are good to have… but that
Lots of birding-centric features
The peregrine hosts a raft of special features for birders that you simply won’t find in other outdoor garments. Starting at the top we have the amply padded shoulder pads. It makes the shirt look a little chunky (my wife dubbed the green review model the “Hulk shirt”), but all that shoulder padding serves a useful purpose. If you’re trekking around on a day’s birding with a full-size scope and tripod slung over your shoulder, you’re going to really appreciate that extra cushioning.
Unique ventilation side panels help wick away moisture, keeping you dry and comfortable, and two special zip-up binocular supports — one high on the chest, the other lower on the belly — support the weight of your binoculars, taking the strain off your neck
Surprisingly they do… supporting the weight of your binoculars and preventing them from swinging about in transit, while not encumbering rapid access to them when required
Out in the field, the Peregrine performed admirably — it served as a warm base-layer under other clothing, without getting sweaty and uncomfortable. It also managed to keep me cool and comfortable on the few days when the Irish summer made wearing a single layer feasible.
At 6′ 5″ I found the Size L shirt was just about long enough for me… but a little shorter than I would have liked. The fit everywhere else was spot on. However, I did find the shoulder pads tended to pull the shirt up when I raised my binoculars and coupled with the barely-sufficient length this at times resulted in a drafty midriff.
It’s birding-related features work well for the most part: the padded shoulders make carrying a scope around for the day more comfortable than it would otherwise be, and the integrated binocular support pockets do, in fact, support your binoculars. That said, except for when I was making a conscious effort to use them for the purpose of writing this review, I never actually remembered to put my binoculars in them.
Old habits die hard, I guess, and I suspect they are something that will prove more beneficial over time, as you get into the habit of using them (assuming you’re not forced to put another layer on over your Wunderbird top — which would render them useless).
The Peregrine… and indeed the rest of the Wunderbird clothing range… offers some intriguing features for birders and wildlife watchers. They are broadly on a par with other offerings on the market in terms of performance and price, but you also get the unique birder-inspired features. If you’re looking for a new high-performance base-layer or mid-layer for birding/wildlife watching they are certainly worth considering.
Overall, I enjoyed using the Wunderbird Peregrine. It is a functional and effective piece of outdoor clothing that has some interesting design elements. How useful you find these will, I suspect, depend largely on the type of birding/wildlife watching you do, and where you do it.
So back to my original question: do birders really need special clothing?
The answer is no, of course not. A t-shirt, a jumper and a decent waterproof jacket will do you for most birding and wildlife watching situations. Will the Wunderbird range revolutionise your birding experience? No. Will it enhance it? Possibly… but whether that’s enough to rush out and order one is really up to you.
You can check out the Wunderbird birders clothing range and order yours from the Wunderbird website by clicking on the link.
I’d like to thank the folks at
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