How to Identify Birds in British Columbia, Canada

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    • 1). Observe the bird carefully, Use your binoculars to get a close look at it. Note all identifying features such as size, color of the feathers, and color of the beak. Write all the physical details down so you don't forget them. Take a photograph if you can get close enough.

    • 2). Try to follow the bird to its nest. Write down a description of what the nest looks like and where it is. If it is possible to see inside the nest without disturbing the bird, see if there are any eggs in it. Write down the size and color of the eggs.

    • 3). Consult a bird atlas online or in a book. A good place to start is birdatlas.bc.ca or birding.bc.ca. To narrow down the possibilities, start by region. For example, if you saw the bird in Vernon, British Columbia, check the section on the Okanagon Valley first. If the bird you saw is not there, move on to an adjacent geographical region. Repeat the process until you make a match. If you are unable to do this online, a good book to check is "Birds of British Columbia: Wood-Warblers through Old World Sparrows" by R. Wayne Campbell, Neil K. Dawe, and Ian McTaggart-Cowan.

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