What is a Field Guide?
An essential step to becoming a birder is possessing a good field guide. A Field guide provides a collection of images, descriptive text, and range maps that helps a bird watcher identify birds. Birds have field marks (physical traits such as markings, shape, color) that are unique. These field marks, along with other clues such as distribution, voice, and behavior, help a bird watcher identify the birds he or she sees.
To fully enjoy birdwatching, get yourself a field guide. Here is how it works:
- See a bird.
- Locate it in the binoculars.
- Observe for field marks and other clues.
- Watch it a little longer, especially if it’s an unfamiliar species.
- Attempt to determine what type of bird it is: hawk, duck, heron, warbler, finch, etc.
- THEN reach for the field guide and find the matching species
These birds occur in a greater variety of habitats and show a greater variety of patterns and colors. They can range in size from the three- or four-inch hummingbirds and kinglets, to the large crows and ravens. This vast group includes almost all of the songbirds, cuckoos, kingfishers and hummingbirds, which, while not related, resemble songbirds. (See: The Audubon Field Guide to North American Birds, Eastern Region)
See: Beauty of Birds