Jackson, Mississippi

Song Sparrow

How To Better Identify Birds

From time to time, you may see birds you don’t know. To identify lesser-known birds, practice answering the following  questions, looking at a bird from the top down.

 

 

1. Silhouette

Look at the bird’s overall size, shape and posture. Is it the size of  something familiar like a sparrow, robin or crow? How does it sit, perch or fly?

2. Head Markings

Does the bird have a colorful or striped cap, also known as a crown? Is there a stripe above or through the eye, or does it have an eye ring or  “spectacles?” Look for cheek patches or a mustache. Is there a white throat patch?

3. Body Markings

What are the overall back, breast and belly colors? What’s on the chest: a patch, spots, streaks or is it clear? Are the flanks (sides of body) clear or  streaked? Is there a white or yellow rump patch?

4. Wing Markings

Are the wings a different color than the body? Are there wing bars or spots?

5. Tail Shape and Markings

Is the tail long or short compared to the body? Is it forked, squared, pointed  or another shape? Are there certain colors or vertical or horizontal stripes?

 

We offer a variety of binoculars that will provide clear views and field guides that will help you determine a bird’s identity. With practice, you will quickly  gather all the clues you need to positively identify birds.