How to Identify Birds at Your Feeder
Is that a blue jay at your feeder or a bluebird? A wren or a warbler? A sparrow or a sapsucker? It's great to have birds show up at your feeder. But it's more fun when you know what kind they are. Here are a few tips to help you get more enjoyment out of your feeder by learning how to identify and recognize the birds that visit there.
Get a Good Pair of Binoculars
Binoculars are great fun. They let you see birds up close, without disturbing them. You can
get a good pair at a very reasonable price these days. Once you buy your binoculars, practice
hand-to-eye coordination. That means being able to spot a bird and immediately bring the
binoculars up to your eyes without losing sight of the bird. With practice, you'll enjoy
Be Patient Watching Birds
If you rush to the window whenever unusual birds show up, you'll only scare them away. Take
your time and avoid sudden movements. Also, there's no hurry to identify them.
Learn the Traits
You can start to identify birds you're most familiar with if you know their family traits.
After all, if you can identify woodpeckers easily by their look and habits, you can do the same
with sparrows, jays, and others.
Learn the Songs
Once you recognize birds at your feeder, try to identify the songs. They're quite distinct.
Since you don't always see wild birds, you'll know which ones are hiding nearby. Hearing a
familiar song from your yard while you're, say, in the city is like running into an old
Other Birding Ideas
It's always a good idea to keep a thorough reference book handy. Kaufman Field Guide to
Birds of North America and The Sibley Guide to Birds are great choices. A quick guide is also
available at www.scottswildbirdfood.com.
Once you've learned about the birds at your feeder, try an organized bird-watching hike in your
local county or state park. You could see something unusual while meeting people who share your