With the advent (finally) of nicer weather, I recently switched from exclusively exercising indoors, to walking outdoors as well. Most days I manage to take a 30 minute walk before getting ready for work.
A few days ago I discovered a park only about five minutes from my home. Lest you think I’m completely unobservant, I should say that it’s tucked away a bit off the road and sidewalk, and isn’t marked very clearly.
There’s nothing particularly fancy about the park, but it’s long, with nice walking paths, trees on one side, playground equipment for kids, a few tennis courts for adults, and lots of benches throughout for resting. I’ve now walked through the park enough mornings that I’m starting to recognize the other early morning walkers. We nod or smile as we pass on the paths, but keep on going.
I discovered on my very first morning that in addition to other walkers, the park has a sizable population of animals. There are squirrels, chipmunks, and most of all, there are birds, birds of every shape and color. Even though I’m not a bird expert, and haven’t officially done any bird watching since a long-ago 8th grade bird project, I was able to recognize many of them. I could easily identify the male cardinals, lots of robins, and a couple bluebirds.
But a tiny little bird with a yellow underside stumped me. At first I thought it might be a goldfinch, but then I saw one of those the next day and realized I was wrong.
I finally started searching for online bird identifiers, and came across WhatBird.com. I’m sure there are lots more bird identifier sites, but WhatBird helped me pinpoint my bird as a Canada Warbler. On their search engine you can click on a series of icons (size, primary color, secondary color, common location, etc.) and at each juncture, they’ll offer suggestions of what the bird might be. By clicking on the bird, you are taken to a page with photos of the bird, as well as a lot of information about the bird. I know I’m going to keep using it, at least until I find another site that appeals more.
So how about you? Do you do any bird watching? Do you make use of any online sites for idenitification? If so, what are some of your favorite sites?