Hi everyone - I am wondering if you could help me as a 'beginner in all things birds'. While watching and taking photos of the birds around me, I really struggle with identifying the numerous small brown birds in particular (as opposed to the more colourful ones). Although I refer to my RSPB handbook, the similarities in the hand drawn pictures can be plentiful.
I find that unless I know the name of the bird to begin with, I end up doing a time consuming page by page search.
I have seen that so many of you on this forum have some wonderful photos, and would like to ask if you could post any on here for me with an ID for the particular 'little brown bird'. Even better if you could add a description of anything in particular to look out for too.
Many thanks for your help - I will get there in the end ......
In reply to doggie:
Hi Red Kite, Im glad you have started this thread because I struggle with the brown birds! Now with the pics I can compare and learn about the different species.
Has anyone got a wren to post?
It takes time to get to know what you need to be looking for to identify different species - and it can often also take time before beginners start to actually pick out some of the details that they need to note, even if they know what they need to look for.
One of the first things to start looking for is the size and shape of the beak, this will immediately narrow down the families of birds that a mystery bird could belong to.
The next thing is to make sure that you always compare and contrast unfamiliar birds with birds that you are already familiar with - if it is very similar it is quite likely to be in the same family (or a closely related one).
The other thing that it is extremely worthwhile doing, is to try and learn the correct names for the different parts of a bird (eg. the different feather groups in the wings, and the stripes that may be present on the head). All good field guides should have diagrams showing these, usually somewhere near the front, but it is not always easy to recognise the correct areas on birds in the field at first. If you can learn these it will help you to properly understand the identification notes in your fieldguides. Don't worry about learning these in too much detail when you start out though, "stripe above the eye" is a very good substitute for "supercilium", and can be used if you need to describe something you have seen to ask for help with ID!
In reply to bob's_retired_now:
These pictures are great! Surprisingly I have not managed to sight a sparrow in my garden yet for some reason - maybe I keep missing them?
I have now downloaded ibirds thanks doggie - this looks like a fantastic app (just been listening to the Red Kites lol).
I am now going to try out BirdGuide as well thanks Bob.
I have never really looked at Flickr - but will check your photos out now thanks!
One of my favourite LBJs is the Wren. One of our smaller birds but with a big voice. ID features to look for , as well as the small size , are the cocked up tail and the pale eye stripe. Mostly seen close to or under bushes but will fly to a high perch to sing.
My gallery here
Checkout the forums' Community HOMEPAGE for lots of interesting posts from other members.
In reply to Red Kite:
Note the very different bill shapes shown by the sparrows in this thread and the Dunnock and Wrens.
Seed eating species, like sparrows, finches, and buntings, have stout heavy bills. Insect eating species, like Dunnocks, Wrens, warblers, and pipits, have fine, pointed bills (and more generalist species like tits and thrushes have a bill shape that is somewhere in between).
In reply to Galatas:
Brilliant pics by all! Thanks for the explanation Roy, that certainly helps!
In reply to Jason:
Thanks for the beak identification advice RoyW - that all makes alot of sense. I will definately start to learn about and pay more attention to the anatomy of birds.
This app is amazing thanks doggie - I will be playing about with it all night!!!
Reed Buntings can be mistaken for Sparrows at first glance. Look for the white moustache.
Females are paler
As the name suggests they inhabit reedbeds but can be seen elsewhere , sometimes even in gardens.
Great pictures of the Reed Buntings thanks Galatas! As a general rule, are female birds of all species slightly different in colour to males do you know, or does this depend on the bird?
In some species the difference is quite marked , in others only another bird of the same species can tell easily : -)
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