Bird Identification 101

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Table of Contents
Topography of a Bird

Constant Features

Plumage Variations

ID by Shape
ID by Color
ID by Location
ID by Specific Features

The Bill







Quiz on Bill Shapes

The Head





Ear Patch (auricular)

Quiz on the Head

ID by Field Mark
ID by Behavior
ID by Gestalt
ID by Nests
ID by Ear

Recommended ID Books


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The eyering can be visualized, in many different birds, as a pale ring of feathers encircling the eye. It is a very narrow ring which may not be very clear from a greater distance. An eyering can be complete like the Virginia’s Warbler or broken into crescents like the MacGillivray’s Warbler.


The Eyering Complete: Virginia’s Warbler  

Broken: MacGillivray’s Warbler

Next: Crown

The power of avian eyesight is unique among vertebrates. Birds, on average, can see two or three times more sharply than people. In fact some raptors can see a small rodent more than a mile away. Unlike the color reception mechanism of human eyesight, birds rely on a pigmented oil droplets system, which sharpens perception and reduces glare.
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