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How to ID a Bird: Step 2 -- field marks

What colors or patterns does it have?

When looking at a bird take note of its features and field marks, these are the give-away when identifying similar looking species.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
  • What shape is its bill? Conical? Hooked? (A)
  • Are its wings long and pointed or rounded? (B)
  • Does it have any distinguishing markings?
  • Is its tail short, long, squared at the tip, notched, forked, rounded, or pointed? (C)

Often the first detail that catches a birderís eye is color (D). The brilliant red of a male Northern Cardinal is hard to miss. As important as color, though, is the pattern colors make on a bird. Examine the eyebrows, eye rings, eye lines, or mustaches on a birdís head. Wing patterns can be helpful, too, as can rump and tail patterns.



How to ID a Bird:

Like a robin, the bird has a brick red breast, but unlike a robin, it has a brilliant blue back, head and tail. It is white beneath it's tail.