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David Sibley explains how studying one detail will help you remember the whole bird

If you’ve ever read about how to improve your identification skills, you have undoubtedly run across these suggestions: Continue watching after you’ve identified the bird. Leave your field guide at home. Take notes or draw sketches. Get to know common birds. The suggestions are all related. Their ultimate goal is to increase your engagement, focus … Read More “David Sibley explains how studying one detail will help you remember the whole bird”

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David Sibley explains how a bird can change its appearance by rearranging its feathers

Feather color accounts for most of the variation that we see in the appearance of birds, since color fluctuates with age, sex, and other factors, but a bird’s appearance can also change dramatically based on how the feathers are arranged. Willet provides an obvious example. Its white wing stripe is invisible when the wings are … Read More “David Sibley explains how a bird can change its appearance by rearranging its feathers”

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David Sibley explains how to use nesting behavior to help identify birds

In most of North America, nesting behavior is common any time between April and July. You may not think of it as a field mark, but it can be helpful in the identification process, since it narrows the possibilities. You can start by noticing the signs of nesting. Almost any bird holding food or nesting … Read More “David Sibley explains how to use nesting behavior to help identify birds”

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David Sibley explains how birds that really want to be noticed use visual signals as well as song

Identifying birds is really about understanding birds. Being attuned to the basics of bird behavior can help us put a name on species. Spring is the time of courtship behavior. Singing birds surround us, and their songs offer multiple clues to their identity. We humans interpret birdsong as a joyous outpouring — a celebration of … Read More “David Sibley explains how birds that really want to be noticed use visual signals as well as song”

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David Sibley explains what to look for the next time you see a partial albino bird

Sooner or later everyone who watches birds will come across a real oddball. Some of the more frequently seen abnormal birds are the partial albinos. They can be all white, have white patches (a white head, perhaps), or appear pale grayish tan all over. Many terms are used for such birds, but I prefer simply … Read More “David Sibley explains what to look for the next time you see a partial albino bird”

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