I must have, at some point, mentioned that I love birding. I can’t label my study of birds “ornithology” – whilst I am immensely drawn to such methods of analysis as those employed in the Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy, my desire to delve into the molecular phylogenetics surrounding bird species is rivalled by the temptation to just watch them. Earlier in life, I’d always succumbed to the latter; that aspect of my interactions with birds will be spoken of below.
I’ve attempted to observe species wherever they and I congregate (haha, -greg-). The most behaviorally intriguing specimens that I’ve seen are foreign birds; they have dazzled me most thoroughly in other aspects of their being, too, embalming me in distinct plumage and calls that I’d never before experienced.
I have, however, always tended to return to Canadian species for more intricate examinations; this is partially by dint of the fact that they are readily accessible to me. I feel it absolutely vital to ensure that those sharing their environments with Canada’s bird species understand how to properly protect varied birds, and thus facilitate holistic health amongst delicate populations. This, I think, begins with the correct identification of bird species.
As such, I was immensely pleased when several of our teachers brought us to Algonquin Provincial Park last spring. The life there was extraordinary, and I believe that all those present vacated the premises with their appreciation of wildlife furthered. Prior to journeying there, however, students were asked to learn how to properly identify birds. In an attempt to aid others in doing so, I compiled the below guide; I am posting it here primarily to help the tenth-graders of 2011 prepare for their expedition. It is incomplete, but more information will gladly be provided – simply contact me.
Nota bene: This is not given in my stereotypical manner of self-expression – I toiled extensively to reduce the risk of your running into such fragments as “by dint of”, and I prevented myself from utilizing obscure anatomical terms.