No matter how experienced we are there are still birds out there that give us problems when it comes to deciding what we`ve seen hunkered down in a bush or on a distant mudflat. If you manage to identify that tricky little brown job where does it go on your list? The following links should help you decide on both.
Whilst we vary in skill none of us are perfect… some recent discussions on a birding chatline revealed just how bad some mistakes can be. Not only have I identified a paper bag as a water rail, but I have identified a golden eagle as a black rubbish sack and a barn owl as a discarded plastic carrier bag. I even called out to my wife in Australia that just off the road were a small party of e-mails… that should have come out as emu!
Beware, entering some of these links can seriously enhance your knowledge!
The Sibley Guide to Birdlife & Behaviour
Illustrated by David Sibley - The Knopf Publishing Group 2009
See Fatbirder Review
ISBN: 9781400043866Buy this book from NHBS.com
The Handbook of Bird Identification for Europe and the Western Palearctic
by Mark Beaman and Steve Madge Princeton Cloth 1998 $115.00 ?80.00784 pp. 6 x 9 357 plates 625 color maps
ISBN: 0713639601Buy this book from NHBS.com
Bird Identification - a Reference Guide
by Kristian Adolfsson and Stefan Cherrug 379 pages, about 100 illustrations Cover (Red-necked Stint) by Hans Larsson, drawings by Peter Elfman
Feathers - Identification for Bird Conservation
by Marian Cie?lak and Boles?aw Dul, Natura Publishing House 2006 ?25.62p - Buy direct at: http://www.naturapublishing.eu/
ISBN: 8392441001Buy this book from NHBS.com
RSPB Guide to Birdwatching
- A Step-by-Step Approach by Mike Unwin 192 pages, colour illustrations | Christopher Helm | Softcover | November 2008 | £12.99 See Fatbirder Review
ISBN: 9780713679434Buy this book from NHBS.com
Advanced Bird ID Guide: The Western Palearctic
By Nils Van Duivendijk | 308 pages | 10 line drawings | New Holland Publishers | 2010 | £14.99
See Fatbirder Review
ISBN: 9781847736079Buy this book from NHBS.com
Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding: Understanding what you see and hear
by Kenn Kaufman - 448 pages - Houghton Mifflin 2011
See Fatbirder Review
ISBN: 9780547248325Buy this book from NHBS.com
Hawks at a Distance: Identification of Migrant Raptors
By Jerry Liguori | Princeton University Press | Softcover | 2011 | 192 pages, 558 colour photos, b/w illus, tabs
ISBN: 9780691135595Buy this book from NHBS.com
Birds: ID Insights:
Identifying the more difficult birds of Britain and north-west Europe
Dominic Couzens (Author) & David Nurney (Illustrator) | 272 pages | 1000 colour illustrations | New Holland Publishers | Hardback | August 2013
See Fatbirder Review
ISBN: 9781780090580Buy this book from NHBS.com
Forums & Mailing Lists
Birds of North America
The Birds of North America, supported by The American Ornithologists’ Union, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, provides a detailed scientific account of each of the more than 700 species nesting in the 50 United States and Canada.
Bob Lewis's Gull Site
Gulls are one of the last frontiers of bird identification, and I have been a certified gull freak for 20 years. I have long felt that gulls are the most interesting of all birds. True, Peregrine Falcons, Golden Eagles, and Elegant Trogons have their allures, but nothing combines for me the intellectual and aesthetic qualities of birding better than gulls, especially the large white headed Herring Gull assemblage. Add to that the fact that an amateur like me can get decent photos of them -- without getting seasick -- and you've got an unbeatable combination. Parked at Cape Point in a four wheel drive vehicle with a couple thousand gulls standing around, on a cold cloudy day with the wind howling -- that's as close to paradise as it gets.
Gull Identification Website
These pages are dedicated to those rakish scavengers from the north (okay, some are from the south): gulls! gulls! gulls! Many breed in remote locales, migrate great distances, and, in winter, form the most coveted phenomenon that birders hope for: mixed species flocks…
How to write field notes
When Lewis & Clark were sent off to explore the interior of the United States, they were given specific and detailed instructions by Thomas Jefferson as to the records they were expected to keep. Most of us are not called upon to explore a continent, but occasionally we might come across a detail about the world around us that others may find of interest. The quality of the details written affects how seriously the record is taken. Practicing with field notes every day prepares the amateur naturalist for the unexpected event.
Presented here is a photographic guide to many of the birds of the South-eastern U.S. The geographic area covered by this guide includes the following states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and the south-eastern part of Texas.
ID Literature - North America
This list provides pointers to particular journal issues, not full citations. It was originally intended for personal use but we thought it might prove useful to a wider audience.
Identification of Caspian Gull
This article describes the identification of Caspian Gull, a bird that occurs regularly at inland rubbish tips and gull roosts, but is perhaps under-recorded due to limited awareness of identification criteria…
Ocean Wanderers - Angus Wilson’s Bird Identification Resource
Welcome! This site is dedicated to spreading information about bird identification, migration, systematics and conservation. There is likely to be heavy emphasis on the seabirds (shearwaters, petrels, albatrosses etc.); gulls and shorebirds (waders) of the world, however a few passerines might squeak in!
Birds at Home
Lots of ID tips such as how to use filed guides and how to tell a downy from a hairy woodpecker… so its all North American birds.
Ornithological database - Search the Division of Birds Collections…
Airport Wildlife Mitigation
Bird Strike Committee etc…
Wild Waterfowl of the World
List of websites etc…
ID Guides by colour, sone etc. North America
On line guide to ID from Cornell - North American
Dark Atlantic Yellow-legged Gulls
Identification of difficult gulls… not just YLG.
Stokes Birds at Home
So you're enjoying a cup of coffee at your kitchen table when an unknown bird lands at your brand new feeder, and you ask yourself, What kind of bird is that? Or you're an experienced birder, determined to learn the sparrows, out in the field with an unfamiliar bird in focus. Now what? Like any skill, you need to practice to get good. Using the clues below, try to improve your identification skill set!
Gadwall Birding Page
Identifying birds is tough. It`s tough for experienced birders and it`s even tougher for new birders. Birds have a variety of different plumages including: winter, summer, juvenile, first spring, male, female, eclipse and combinations thereof. Plus they molt. So don`t feel bad if you can`t identify every bird you see. On the other hand, learning those different plumage patterns, and the other clues that help identify birds, is what makes this hobby fun.
Peterson On Line
These days mostly just a catalogue of the fieldguides…
Most useful for N Americans
SurfBirds ID Articles
Advanced articles as well as basics…
The Birds of North America
In two centuries of American ornithology, The Birds of North America (BNA) is only the fourth comprehensive reference covering the life histories of North America’s breeding birds…
The Seabirds Skull Gallery, existing since 2002, has only been changed a bit and was given a new name that covers the subject more properly. After two years working on this site it is not only skulls anymore that are shown. Regular visitors have already noticed that since December 2004 the scope has widened. It now includes also other parts of the seabird skeleton. In the Seabird Osteology section general aspects of seabird osteology are treated and in the species section you willl find a listing of families and groups with links to pages on skeletons of particular species or groups. There is always work in progress, which means that there will be additions and improvements from time to time…
My name is Mitchell Waite and I have developed a radical search engine to identify birds of North America that differs from anything on the web. Whatbird.com lets you find your bird with just a few clicks…
VIREO - Visual Resources for Ornithology - The Academy of Natural Sciences
Bird photographs from around the world. Images of all North American birds and half of the world's bird species. Pictures from some of the best bird photographers worldwide…
What Bird Is This?
Everyone who loves nature should easily find the species of animal or plant he/she has seen. Have you seen a beautiful bird you do not know? Do you wonder what bird it is? Exactly for that purpose www.whatbirdisthis.org has been built...
What’s the secret to identifying birds?
The Birding eBook Manual provides just that with over 700 pages of in-depth descriptions of every North American bird. The Birding Manual takes you from being the casual backyard birdwatcher to becoming an avid birdwatcher.
Photos and sound recordings of many Eurasian species.