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David Sibley explains how to point out a bird’s location

Tree Clock
Using the “clock” method is one way to direct people to a bird in a tree. Art by David Allen Sibley

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Discussions of birding skills focus mainly on finding and identifying birds, but being able to describe the location of a bird so that other people can see it is another very important, and often overlooked, aspect of birding. Giving directions is a learned skill, and everyone can get better at it with concerted effort and practice.

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David Sibley

David Sibley

David Sibley writes the column “ID Toolkit” in every issue of BirdWatching. He published the Sibley Guide to Birds in 2000, the Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior in 2001, and Sibley’s Birding Basics in 2002. He is also the author of the Sibley Guide to Trees (2009), the Sibley Guide to Birds-Second Edition (2014), and guides to birds of eastern and western North America (2016). He is the recipient of the American Birding Association’s Roger Tory Peterson Award for lifetime achievement in promoting the cause of birding and a recognition award from the National Wildlife Refuge System for his support of bird conservation.

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