With over 800 species of bird
species in both the U.S. and Canada, it’s easy for the novice birder to be overwhelmed by the variety of options. Field guides are stuffed with similar-looking birds that are arranged in an improbable arrangement. We can help you determine the best place to start.
It’s the first place to begin. A lot of ID tips are focused on specific aspects of plumage, also known as field marks. These include the eyering of a Kinglet with a Ruby crown or The double band on the breast of Killdeer. Although these suggestions are helpful but they assume that you’ve reduced your search to one or two species that are similar to yours.
Start by learning to recognize quickly
which the mystery bird’s group is part of. It is done by getting familiar with the general shape, color and behavior of the birds, and also by keeping a daily count in your mind of the types of birds that can be observed in your area and at certain times of the year.
Naturally, you’ll have to check out field marks — a the wingbar here, and an eyering over there to confirm identifications. However, these four steps will swiftly lead you into the correct group of species, and you’ll know precisely which field marks to search for. How Long Do Birds Live
Learn the 4 Keys of Practice
Bird watchers can spot a wide range of species by a single glance. They’re using four keys for identify visual patterns: Size & Shape, Color Pattern, Behavior as well as Habitat. Try these common birds to learn how the four keys function together:
The combination of shape and size is among the most effective methods for identification. While you may be attracted to birds due to their beautiful colors or intriguing behaviors but when it comes to making the right identifications, size and shape are the most important items you need to look at.
With a little training and observation
you’ll notice that the differences in shape and size be apparent. The first step is to understand the common silhouettes of birds as well as ways to estimate the size of a bird and be aware of the distinct areas of a bird, like the bill wings, and tail.
Soon, you’ll recognize the difference between red-winged Blackbirds as well as European Starlings while they’re still flying, and you’ll be able to recognize the red-tailed Hawk as well as Turkey Vulture without taking your eyes off of the road.
Be Acquainted With Silhouettes
Great Blue Heron: A classic silhouette: long, spear-like bill, elegant S-shaped neck, long legs.
Sometimes, you don’t even need to be able to see any color to determine what type of bird you’re watching. Silhouettes instantly reveal what dimensions, proportions, and posture, and can quickly eliminate a variety of birds, including those with similar overall sizes. Learn to draw silhouettes on the carousel to the right.
Silhouettes are useful because
they assist with the first stage of any identification process choosing what type of bird you have. Once you’ve done that you’ve narrowed your options to a small part in your guide to field.
The first bird watchers usually get distracted by the vivid colors, but then get frustrated as they look through their field guides. Finches, for instance are blue, red, yellow brown, green, or red however they’re always designed as finches. Learn to recognize silhouettes and you’ll be closer to having an ID.
Make a Comparison of Size Birds You’ve Observed
Size is a useful factor when you are comparing an unfamiliar bird to one you know. A black-and-yellow finch that’s smaller than the House Sparrow is likely to be an American Goldfinch. Evening Grosbeaks appear similar, however they are about the same size as the Robin. Images taken by John Schmitt/Cornell Lab.
It is more difficult to determine size than the shape. You don’t know the distance the bird is, or how large that nearby tree limb or rock is. Put in fluffy-up or hunkered down birds and you’re sure to fall prey to a false sense of. With some tricks, you are able to make use of size as an identification key.
Examine your mysterious bird in comparison with a bird that you know well. It’s helpful to realize the fact that it is either larger and/or smaller than that of a sparrow the robin or Crow. This can aid you in choosing between two species that are similar that are similar, like Downy and Hairy woodpeckers , or Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks.
Compare Birds With The same Field Of View
Your estimation of size becomes much more precise if you can evaluate the size of one bird against one. If you come across groups of various species it is possible to use the species you know to identify the ones that you aren’t.