Finding and Visiting a Sit Spot

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Finding and Visiting a Sit Spot

Activity Recommendation: Visit your sit spot for at least 20 minutes, two times per week.


  • To practice observation of nature with all of your senses
  • To get to know one place over time
  • To pause, reflect, and enjoy nature

Southern Oregon Land Conservancy has created an Outside Every Day program which offers this short video of several perspectives of what you can do at a sit spot.

How to Choose a Sit Spot:

Choose one location to serve as your sit spot. The most important aspect of a sit spot is going to it regularly. Therefore, choose a location where you feel safe, that is easy to access, and preferably within a 5-minute walk from your house. Within that parameter, optimal areas for wildlife viewing and plant diversity are near water and in transitions from one habitat to another, such as shorelines and the edges of clearings or forests.

What to Do at Your Sit Spot:

Sit quietly and observe. Effective observation skills are essential to being a good naturalist. The main purpose of this activity is to practice observing with all of your senses, without necessarily analyzing what you see. You may want to bring binoculars, a journal, and field guides for identifying or drawing what you observe, but make sure that using these tools is balanced with sitting quietly and observing. If your mind continues to wander to your grocery list or you have trouble focusing, practice identifying, successively, one feeling on your skin (air, texture of leaf or ground near you), one smell, one sight, one sound, and one taste (air, leaf, etc.). Then start again.

Approaching Your Sit Spot:

You are a potential threat to the wildlife in or near your sit spot area, and your approach will likely cause wildlife to react with alarm behavior, such as fleeing the area, making alarm sounds (birds), hiding, etc. You will see more wildlife if you approach your sit spot with a conscious intention to reduce your impact. This doesn’t mean crouching and tiptoeing (which is stalker behavior and likely to really alarm wildlife). Relax and walk quietly to your sit spot as if you belong there, like you would if you entered a party that you were invited to, but you did not want to draw attention to yourself.

Optimal Duration of a Sit Spot Visit:

“Baseline” is a term used to describe wildlife behavior in a relaxed and unthreatened state. When a predator, or sit spot goer, enters an area, animals may change their behavior to an alarmed state, which is particularly observable in birds whose loud squawks and fleeing is easily heard and seen. It takes about 20 minutes for wildlife to “calm down” back to baseline. Therefore, although we recommend 20 minutes for this activity to make it doable for people, we suggest that you stay 30-60 minutes in your sit spot whenever possible in order to experience your area in its “natural state,” after wildlife has stopped reacting to your arrival.