Bird Identification

Rusty Blackbird - Bird Identification

This male Rusty Blackbird is seen here in it’s winter plumage. Identifying birds at different times of the year can be rather tricky.

With so many species, and slight variations in size and colour, identifying birds can be quite difficult. There are many great printed guides available, but one of my favorites is available online. All About Birds is an online guide presented by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Information on 589 species is provided in this guide. The guide is simple to use just like a paper copy, but has some distinct advantages. Birds are listed in alphabetical order by common name, but if the name is not known you can search by shape or taxonomy. Colour photographs are provided of both sexes of the species in their various plumages. Habitat, food, nesting, and behavioral information is all provided, as well as range maps. Another nice feature of this guide is that photos of similar species are listed for side by side comparison. No more flipping back and forth between pages. What really sets this guide apart from the paper guides is that you can actually play audio clips of the various calls and songs of each species. I have discovered that being able to identify the distinct sounds of each bird in the wild has really helped me with my photography. I now know what I am looking for, and am more patient if it is a species I have never photographed. So next time you are stuck identifying what you saw, give All About Birds online guide a try.

Good Birding,


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