Which one is which?  

Baldwin's Birds


With the varying seasonal weather affecting ourselves and the birds and their varieties, there comes a time when you tend to get a bit blase and think that the bird you are looking at on your feeder is the same one you saw yesterday. How can that be? Well, let’s look at some of my recent sightings that I may have mentioned in my articles, or not, giving rise to that interminable question – which one is which?

There are three quizzical examples I can give you straight away: a) Is it a Sharp shinned Hawk or a Coopers Hawk?  b) Is it a Crow or a Raven? c) Is it a Purple Finch or a House Finch? Oh how easy those sound to you, because of the possible familiarity you might have yourself with some of the pairs, if not all of them. It is this familiarity that can trip you up when identifying them, because there are only very subtle differences between any of these pairs, and they are so subtle that even many of the “experts” have difficulty separating them to give a positive answer to the question.

I am definitely not an expert, nor even profess to be, so I have to resort to the same resources to secure an answer as you yourselves do – viz. bird books, internet, and knowledgeable friends. Drawing conclusions from what you glean from these sources can be quite an educational activity, which is well worth doing if you have any doubts at all as to which one of the two you are actually looking at. I can assure you, the time that you spend doing your own research is a very enjoyable, mentally therapeutic and rewarding learning tool. If you reach a logical and satisfactory conclusion to obtain the answer for yourself, then you are well ahead of the game. I hope that this gives you another outlet to explore the many different facts about our avian friends that you might or might no, already know. Have fun anyway and stay safe and well.


John Baldwin


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