bird

How To Recognise Individual Birds - Part 1

noisy-miners on the washing line'How will I tell which bird I am talking to?'' -  this is a problem that perplexes many bird lovers. 

The human brain faces many challenges in trying to recognise individual birds.

Firstly the birds are much smaller than us which makes their unique features harder for our eyes to spot.  Our eyes also cannot see many of the colours in the indigo-violet range unlike the birds who can see many more frequencies of colour than us.  To make matters more difficult the smaller birds in particular don't sit still long enough for eyes to get a proper fix on them to be able to notice and learn their individual characteristics.

Our brains need some training and time to get used to the bird patterns. Once we know what to look for it becomes much easier to identify them.

There are 6 easy ways to recognise a bird.  Over the next few days we'll cover each of these in more detail.

In today's post we'll look at the first key: Shape, Form and Size.

Every bird is unique regardless of the species. Look at their general shape and size.  Try and spot the differences:

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Nest Swapping Between Magpies and Crows

Vicky magpie feeding chick in nestIn this picture Vicky magpie has just landed on the branch with some food for the young chicks in her nest. 

The start of winter, i.e. June is the mating season for magpies.  By July the early breeders will have laid their eggs which usually hatch 4 weeks later.  The young hatchlings  spend a month in the nest developing and growing before they fledge.

Vicky is a late breeder. She doesn't lay her eggs until September and it is well into October before we see her fledgelings.

Magpies tend to keep the same nest over the years unless it is destroyed in a storm or other extreme circumstances.  But Vicky  has changed her nest quite often. 

The most remarkable time was when a few years ago she swapped nests with a crow.  The crows nests are bigger and stronger and she immediately got to work to line and soften the inside.  The crow on the other hand lost no time in reinforcing Vicky's old nest and making it more

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