We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I keep a pair of cheap Nikon 7X35 compact binocs in the car, just in case I happen to encounter an interesting bird. They work very well as opera glasses, too.
For marine use - not for birding but for looking around - I like a 7X50. Mine are inexpensive but good enough, and with the exposure to salt water and banging, I don't want to worry about them.
For more serious birding and nature-watching, I like my Minox rubber-coated 8X32s. Darn good lenses, and you don't want additional magnification for wildlife except in special circumstances.
The cool birders who want to spend the money use Swarovskis - but the very best birders I know can ID any bird with any old cheap compact binoculars, unless they are distant, on a beach or prairie. Then a spotting scope is essential.
Great source for binocs - Binoculars.com. They also have night-vision optics, spotting scopes, and rifle scopes.
I usually carry a monocular on my walks in the woods. It attaches to the belt or fits easily in a jacket pocket. Not the last word in optics but it comes in handy to check out a bird or count the points on a buck in the field.