ID Tips

Dark-eyed Juncos, Backyard Gems, Come in a Dazzling Array of Colors

March 01, 2019 — The six flavors of junco were long considered separate species. Recent science shows that they instead boldly exhibit evolution in real time.

Is That a Swallow or a Swift?

September 25, 2018 — Telling the two apart can be tough, but some clues lie in how they fly and where they sleep.

Is That Golden Eagle Actually a Bald Eagle?

July 03, 2018 — In its youth, our national symbol sports brown feathers on its head—making it easily confused with its rarer, golden cousin.

Why You Should Start Searching for Rusty Blackbirds

February 16, 2018 — Aside from helping to boost your blackbird appreciation, spotting this declining species can also aid in conservation efforts.

How to Tell Vireos From Warblers, Flycatchers, and Kinglets

June 28, 2017 — Before you start identifying vireos, you need to stop confusing them with other similar families of songbirds.

Learn to Tell a Cackling Goose From a Canada Goose

March 30, 2017 — Don’t let this ID cook your goose. Here are a few tips to help you solve the puzzle.

The Biggest Differences Between Song and Savannah Sparrows

March 03, 2017 — A close look at these two doppelgängers shows some key contrasts in markings and song.

Greater or Lesser Scaup? Here Are the Biggest Differences Between the Two

January 19, 2017 — It’s a challenging ID, but head shape can take you a long way.

House Finch or Purple Finch? Here's How to Tell Them Apart

December 28, 2016 — Some clues to help distinguish between these two often-confused finches.

Learn to Tell a Northern Shrike From a Loggerhead Shrike

November 23, 2016 — These are the best clues to help you know which ‘butcherbird’ is which.