How to be a Birder part 6

Hint # 6 Observe the General Appearance of the Bird

Look at the general appearance of a bird. On seeing a bird the observer usually tries to identify it immediately. As you become more experienced you will notice certain features of the bird that help to narrow down the possibilities. This is before you consult a field guide.

Ask yourself some key questions.

  • What is its size? Is it small like a sparrow, about the size of a magpie or large like a pelican? Your response to this question will narrow down the possibilities considerably.
  • What is its body shape? Does it have the general shape of a duck, an eagle or a crow? Is it thin and sleek like a honeyeater, or fat and dumpy like a dove or pigeon? Does it have a straight beak, or is it curved.
  • What is its main colour? Is it all black, all white, black and white, mainly yellow, does it have blue on the wings? This question narrows down the possibilities even further.
  • What is it doing? Is it feeding on the ground? Is it on the water? Is it feeding from a flower? Is it high in the canopy of a tree? Is it looking for insects and spiders under the bark of trees? All these questions help to narrow the field even further.
  • How does it fly? Does it fly quickly and directly like a pigeon? Does it hover on the air or glide on air currents like kites and eagles? Is it restless and always on the move like a flycatcher?
  • What is its call like? Is it soft and cooing like a dove, or harsh and noisy like a parrot? Is its call song-like and repeated often or is it mostly silent?

For more hints on how to be a birder click here.

Australian Pelicans, Rocky Gully Wetlands

Australian Pelicans, Rocky Gully Wetlands


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *