Spotting scopes are compact telescopes designed primarily for terrestrial observing and photography. In addition to birding, some other uses include:
- Viewing distant sports events, such as boat races and mountain climbing;
- Observing deer, mountain goats, and other easily-spooked animal life;
- Use as a long distance microscope for safe close-up study of hornets' nests, bee hives, etc.;
- Surveillance of property and outbuildings for the isolated homeowner, rancher, or farmer;
- Scanning ski resort, lake, or harbor activities from the home with a view;
- Casual astronomy; and more.