Thursday, April 25, 2013

Beginning Bird Identification

Back in January 2012 I discussed how birds that look alike aren't always placed in field guides next to each other (Field-friendly bird sequence: Part one). Instead, they are arranged by presumed relationships (taxonomic order)--and these constantly changing.

Next I looked at some previous attempts to organize birds by general external physical characters. I proposed a sequence that placed all North American birds into 13 categories (Field-friendly bird sequence: Part two). Beginners should be able to quickly place a bird they see into one of these categories, then search for the exact species more accurately than in field guides ordered in taxonomic sequence.

Over the subsequent year I discussed one of the 13 categories each month. It is now completed. I've gone back and updated Part two with links to each discussion. I repeat it below for your convenience.

Swimming Waterbirds
Flying Waterbirds
Wading Waterbirds
Chicken-like Birds
Miscellaneous Landbirds
Aerial Landbirds
Flycatcher-like Birds
Thrush-like Songbirds
Chickadee and Wren-like Songbirds
Warbler-like Songbirds
Sparrow and Finch-like Songbirds
Blackbird-like Songbirds

What do you think? Do you find these categories useful for beginning birders?