One of the beauties of winter bird-watching is how little it takes to turn an average day into an ornithological treat. Pausing to observe birds is like stopping to smell the roses -- making the extra effort enriches your life immeasurably. To watch for birds is to engage with nature. It's a little like fishing. Just as actually catching fish becomes secondary to being immersed in the outdoors, so it is with spotting birds. When your bird-watching companions are your kids, the experience deepens the family connection.
Find a good field guide. Your birding adventure should start with investment in a good field guide -- it will be an invaluable tool if you want to identify the birds you see. Search online booksellers for field guides that cover North America and your specific part of the country. Some of the top names in the field-guide business are Peterson, Sibley, and Focus. On About.com, you can check out a list of their picks for top birding books as well as their recommendations for binoculars and other bird-watching gear. At the outdoor- and nature-enthusiast site eNature.com, you can peruse online field guides, read up on birding, check your region for sightings, and ask an expert a question.