DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Nov 17 2010

Backyard Birds

by Dea Anne M

A few years ago my mom gave us a gorgeous ceramic bird feeder that wound up sitting in its box for several months while we tried to decide where to put it. Finally, we figured out a way to suspend it right outside of one of the kitchen windows. It’s the perfect spot for watching the birds as we wash dishes or cook and, for the cats, it has become like television (all birds, all the time!).

Of course, once you start noticing birds, you want to know more about them, particularly what it is you’re actually looking at. Some of  the birds I see are the ones most of us know—robins, cardinals, and, in my neighborhood, lots of red-headed woodpeckers. A few of these larger birds visit the feeder, but most of the birds I see feasting there are the smaller varieties that I don’t know as much about. One in particular has interested me lately—a cute, lively, little gray guy with a crest at the top of its head. What kind of bird is that?

If you find yourself posing the same sort of question to yourself, then DCPL has abundant resources to help.

If you like using books, you might try these two well-regarded birding guides.

The Audubon Society field guide to North American birds. Eastern region

A field guide to the birds by Roger Tory Peterson.  

For information that’s more specific to home try Common Birds of Atlanta by Jim Wilson and Anselm Atkins.

Kids like to bird watch too. Younger birders can try:

Simon &  Schuster Children’s guide to birds


Crinkleroot’s 25 birds every child should know by Jim Arnosky.

Want to pop in a DVD? Try

So many feathers (bird watching without binoculars!)

Finally, there are some really handy tools online that you can use to identify your bird. My favorite of these is National Geographic’s Backyard Bird Identifier. It’s easy to use. You input your region and state, then specify the current month. Next, you click on your bird’s color(s) and submit. Pictures of likely candidates pop up making it easy to identify the bird that interests you. I love leafing through bird books, but using this tool helped me to quickly peg the identity of my little gray guy.

What is he? He’s a Tufted Titmouse. Check him out in the picture below.

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