Monday, February 7, 2011

How To Identify Birds, The Basics

I wanted to walk you through how I learned a new bird according to his sound.

I was walking the dog this morning and this is the second time I have heard this bird.  I could tell it was in these woods, and that is was up in a tree, not on the ground, even though I could not see it.

I knew enough from the raspy, loud sound that I needed to start looking in the Bird of Prey category.  I went to this website and checked out the birds of prey, clicking through to the Hawk section.

Then I got my handy-dandy favorite Bird book, the Kaufman, and looked to see which Hawks are in my area.  That REALLY helps narrow down your options.  I discovered there were only about four that I could consider.  So, I clicked on those and listened to them.  I had it narrowed down between a  Red Tailed Hawk and a Northern Harrier.  Then I read the Kaufman for the habitat and living location of each Hawk, and decided that it must be a Red Tailed Hawk, since they live high up in trees.  The harrier does does not like to be high off the ground. 

Picture from Wikipedia

So, it took a few steps, but now I am confident that I can now identify the Red Hawk by sound and obervation, which means I  added to my knowledge and ease of identifying another bird today. 


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  1. Thank you for the book recommendation and explaining the steps you took to identify the bird. Very helpful!

  2. Anytime Kellie- thanks for coming to visit. You know I got my start with nature blogging from you:)


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