Shotgun microphones are unidirectional, meaning that they best pick up sounds from the direction they are pointed. Whilst they don’t have the sound-gathering capabilities of a parabolic reflector, they do offer greater ‘focus’ – and therefore range – compared to the in-built mics of hand-held sound recorders. They are also quite portable, so are worth considering if you want a microphone you can easily add to your ‘standard’ birding kit.
How you secure a shotgun mic will depend on the circumstances of your location, and whether or not you plan to use it in the field. Low-tech (and discrete!) solutions include placing the mic in an old handbag hung out of the window. If you do want to use it in the field, a pistol grip or other mount is essential to reduce handling noise. Look for a model with a screw thread that allows you to attach it to a standard tripod.