Very little compares to identifying a new bird in your feeder. This one was so unusual that we just couldn't stop looking at it.
The photo does not do it justice. It is bright yellow, with distinct markings of black and white. It was fairly good size so we got a pretty good look at it.
Although the photo didn't turn out well, the memory will be forever with us.
We identified this bird as an Evening Grosbeak.
(click photo for larger photo)
Yesterday we saw a bunch of blue birds that we had never seen before. We were out driving in the car when we saw nesting boxes all along a fence. We saw flashes of blue and realized that they were birds fighting, not only in the air but on the ground. The birds were very aggressive. When we got home we pulled out our field guide and identified the birds as Western bluebirds.
I shared the following information with a friend about how I identify a bird by explaining how I identified the Evening grosbeak. I personally like using the Audubon Society's Field Guide to Birds.
1. When I am trying to identify a bird, I rely heavily on color. The bird we saw in our feeder was a bright yellow so that narrowed it down as far as identifying it. The Audubon guide that I suggested for birds is organized by type of bird (clinging, perching, duck-like, etc) and then by predominant color. This makes it fast to skim through a lot of birds visually.
2. After I look at color and general type, I look at size. (sparrow-size, robin-sized, goose-size, etc) The Aububon guide does group from smallest to largest.
3. After color, type, and size, I look at beaks. This is really easy in the Aububon guide because on the photo pages there are three bird photos on a page so there are less pages to look through.
4. If I hit on the right bird by doing that method, I usually do a Google image search on the internet to confirm my findings. If I missed and didn't get the right bird but I am in the right ball park, I go to whatbird.com and do a search there.
That pretty much sums it up. I know that others have different methods for identifying birds with a field guide but this works for our family.
It was a big bird weekend around here. I love it.
Barb-Harmony Art Mom