How To Identify Birds By Understanding Their Habitat

Birds’ home is their habitat and there are some birds that are choosy with their habitats.

You can easily narrow down the list by recognizing the environment you are in.

Identifying the birds correctly and quickly will depend highly on probability. If you are aware of what types of bird you will likely see it will be easily for you to start identifying the birds that you will encounter. Once you notice a bird that you are not expecting to see, you will know that you need to take another look.

Bird on the Balcony

Habitat is usually the first and last factor that you should consider when trying to indentify a bird. Identify the habitat first and take another look at it before you finally decide what type of bird you have within your view.

Bird Identifying through probability

Habitat is sometimes perceived as a collection of plants; usually a forest, cypress swamp, grassland and pine woods. But a habitat can also be a collection of birds. By taking note of the present habitat, it will be easy for you to build a guess regarding the kinds of birds that you will see.

There are over 50 warbler species and more than 30 hawk species in North America. It is unfeasible to maintain all such possibilities right each time you see one of such birds. It is easy to make things easier though if you can consider the present habitat.

For instance, the field guide you have may show several sparrows that have rusty heads, by using probability and habitat, you can easily pin them down. Is the bird hiding in a group of reeds, or is it hopping around a pine, or singing while perched on fencepost? The reeds are signs that you are probably looking at a Swamp Sparrow. If in pine woods, you are likely looking at a Chipping Sparrow. And along a fencerow means you have a Field Sparrow in sight.

Using range maps
It is possible not t get a headache while you try to maintain every single bird in the field guide. Just try to remember that even if they are neatly lined up in the pages, that is not likely the case when they are out there. You should always make sure that you are checking the range maps prior to making identification. For instance, you can identify least half of the very similar Empidonax flycatchers immediately, by simply taking into account the place and the time. Baltimore Orioles and Bullock’s Orioles have similar features and appearance, but they cannot be seen in the same place at the same time. Birds, of course, do stray from home ranges and that can sometimes be a unique and fun part; to see a bird that is not supposed to be there. It is important to remember though that you are birding through probability. It is better to make comparisons on what should be there and when nothing matches, it is time to take notes.
Checking the time of year

The range maps offer clue to the identification: They can tell when a bird is probably around. Some birds are not in the habit of moving around throughout the year such as; chickadees, some woodpeckers and nuthatches. Some birds though completely leave North America. There are a few that come to the south in order to avoid the Arctic winters.

Many summer birds, which include most of thrushes, warblers, shorebirds, flycatchers and hummingbirds, leave by fall. Other birds though replace them. This mass arrival and exodus is all just a part of the excitement of bird watching during the migration time.

For instance, Cedar Waxwings are usually moving to the south for the winter, but the Bohemian Waxwings will replace them coming from the northern part of North America. The Field Sparrows move when winter comes and the American Tree Sparrows replace them.

Photo Credit: Gordon Wrigley