One of the most gratifying aspects of the Virginia Working Landscapes bird survey is learning to identify a variety of birds. I’ve always considered myself an avid birder and consistently work to name new species I see, whether in my backyard or out and about. As a volunteer for this project, I feel compelled to learn even more, including the challenging aspect of identifying birds simply by hearing their songs and picking out specific calls even amongst the vast chorus heard in a huge native-grass field.
As with many birders, my greatest difficulty is to identify a particular sparrow from among the many different types, especially when it’s on the wing. So, for now, I’m never far from the binoculars and the Peterson Field Guide, where the sparrow section is clearly highlighted with a blue tab.