I am new at birding. Based on the recommendation of an experienced birder, last year I purchased a Nikon Monarchs 8x42. I have been extremely happy with these. There is a good width that allows you to follow more easily for birds in flight. Anything with more magnification will provide more close up detail but will make it more difficult to follow in flight and will require you to have a very steady hand. I purchased these on sale at REI for a little over $200. Very clear and bright. Well attached lens covers at both ends. Reasonable weight. Highly recommend.