How closely and carefully do you need to look at a bird to identify it? Having a live bird in hand would be ideal, but you can learn a lot even from a distance. Is the bird about the size of a crow, or closer to the size of a sparrow? How large is the bill in relation to the rest of the head? These characteristics can often distinguish one bird species from another. Join Chris Wood and Jessie Barry as they put their knowledge of external avian anatomy into practice in the field.

This video is part of our 4-part Inside Birding series. Each roughly 10-minute video guides you through the 4 basic keys to bird identification with clear instruction and examples. The four videos in the series are:

Inside Birding: Size & Shape
Inside Birding: Color Pattern
Inside Birding: Understanding Behavior
Inside Birding: Habitat

Would you like to learn more about using size and shape to identify more birds in your area? Bird Academy’s online courses let enthusiasts of all levels learn at their own pace. You can browse our course catalog to find the perfect online learning resource for yourself. Be a better birder today: View course catalog