Getting started with bird identification

Roger Tory Peterson, Field Guide to BirdsUse your copy of Peterson’s Field Guide to Birds (see previous introduction) to identify the bird described in each numbered question below. This exercise will help you become more familiar with the contents and layout of Peterson’s Guide.

Tip: Look up each bird listed below in Peterson’s Guide; then choose the bird which best fits each description.

  1. Which owl has a light colored, heart-shaped face, with no ear tufts?
    • Great Horned Owl
    • Screech Owl
    • Barn Owl
  2. Which type of tail does the mourning dove have?
    • Square tipped
    • Pointed
    • Deeply forked
    • Rounded
  3. Which woodpecker has a brown back, a white rump, and shows either golden yellow or salmon red under the wings in overhead flight?
    • Flicker
    • Downy
    • Hairy
  4. Which bird is swallow-tailed, with a cinnamon-brown breast?
    • Purple Martin
    • Cliff Swallow
    • Barn Swallow
    • Tree Swallow
  5. Which bird goes headfirst down a tree?
    • Blue Jay
    • Chickadee
    • Tufted Titmouse
    • Nuthatch
  6. Which bird is most remarkable in its song, which often mimics other birds or sounds? This grey bird also has conspicuous large white patches under the wings that are visible in overhead flight.
    • Wren
    • Thrasher
    • Mockingbird
    • Robin
  7. This common black bird was not originally native to America, but was introduced from Europe. In winter it is heavily speckled; in spring and summer its bill becomes yellow.
    • Waxwing
    • Red-winged Blackbird
    • Grackle
    • Starling
  8. What color is the female cardinal’s bill?
    • Red
    • Black
    • Yellow
    • Green
    • Purple
  9. Which male bird is yellow with a black cap and black markings on its wings?
    • Crossbill
    • American Goldfinch
    • Rufous Towhee
    • Song Sparrow
  10. Which bird has a long pointed tail, a scarlet face, and a white neck ring?
    • Evening Grosbeak
    • Indigo Bunting
    • White-throated Sparrow
    • Pheasant

Bonus: Name a bird that is nowhere listed above, as a possible answer, that you can identify. List one or two field marks that identify it, and note anything that you find interesting about it.

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