Identifying Birds: Find Some First-Hand Tips

Many individuals flip the field guide when they spot a bird that they never saw before, also, people who know the kind of species still they like to see the field guide. But, instead of flipping the guide, you can roughly take a sketch and write down few details about the bird, then later you can sit and try to identify the bird, better you do this while you are still watching it.


There are some confusing bird species that sit side by side in your field guide, wearing what seems like the

-Draw a rough sketch pointing different of parts of the birds and tag its features or colors. For instance, observe its head portion and note down the colors you have seen on the birds head.  Next time when you look at the sketch you can think of all the different parts of the bird and you can identify with the description you gathered.  You can check the field guide once you try to identify the bird.

-The new birders may get confused when they see two similar kinds of species when they see them side by side in their field guide. Sometimes you may get confused seeing similar patterns, only experienced birder can identify the difference using the clues and noticing how finely or boldly the patterns on the bird is. To identify this difference, you may need a tictrained eye.

-House Finches are considered as a common backyard birds in North America, and you can find these birds almost in the entire continent.  The most familiar one that visits the most places is purple finch. Males will have red color on the chest and head, and brown stripes on all other parts of the bird.   Female finches are both streaky and brown.  But, how can you tell which one is male and which one is female? Look at how sturdily they marked.

Identify bird’s colors and patterns:

Male House finches are boldly streaked under the flanks, and male purple finches are little paler and streaks are lighter. And also, the red color is more unique, and more limited to the breast and head, in a male House Finch. The male a purple finch back appears is pale raspberry red.

Find knowledgeable birders in your community to help. Call a local nature center or Audubon and ask for someone who is familiar with local birds.

If you do not find enough information in field guide, then take help from an experienced birder in your area.  You can also ask Audubon or a local nature center and ask for helps to identify the local birds.

Send the details that you have gathered including photo or sketch of the unknown bird to the experienced birder for assistance.

Make sure to include the following information:

  • Description of the unique bird
  • Where you actually spot it, location, state, city or province.
  • Describe the habitat that where you found the bird.
  • Its behavior, including its feeding and type of food the bird eat.
  • What kind of species that the bird belongs.
  • The size of the bird and if it can be compared with any other common bird.

Conclusion: If you are a new birder, then starts slowly, first study the birds when they visit your backyard. Gradually, try to identify them when you see them at your backyard. And, soon you can become an expert in identified the fine birds. Shorebirds, sparrows, and seagulls are considered as the most difficult, you can save it for last. The most experienced birders also are unable to find all kind they see.  So take your time and become an expert bird watcher.

Photo Credit: Andrea OConnell