How many birds can you identify? Maybe you could use a little help?

A couple of years ago, the National Audubon Society made available the Audubon Bird Guide App, a mobile field guide for North America loaded with 821 species, photos, descriptions, and bird call recordings as well as migration maps and a bird locater.  Doesn’t matter what your birding skill level, this Bird Guide App is fun and a first-rate resource and learning tool.  Best of all–it’s FREE.  Thank you NAS!

Our On2In2™ friend and bird lover, Nancy (@nk03262) recommends these digital tools for birding beginners and beyond:

Merlin Bird ID app (it’s FREE) – helps in identifying birds you see in North America and Europe.  All you do is answer a few basic questions or take a photo of the bird, and it provides a list of possible matches.

eBird – a free online program and mobile app that allows birders to watch, search and record sightings in real time.  Read → How to Use eBird, by Noah Strycker (January 1, 2015)

Birdseye Finding Guide app (it’s FREE) – real-time info on what birds are nearby or in a specific location

Sibley eGuide to Birds app ($ fee to download) – a digital field guide for North American birds that allows you to compare two bird species images, maps, and sounds

Want to improve your Bird ID skills?  Nancy also recommends the Feeder Birds Course offered by Cornell Lab Bird Academy.  It’s a self-paced, online course to help you learn how to identify the birds in your backyard and understand their behavior at feeders, and includes custom practice tools, instructional videos, and quizzes (all available through your web browser, no downloads required and nothing is shipped, $59.99).

Interested in bird photography?  Paul Bannick, a professional photographer and Audubon Magazine photo award winner, says birds are “fascinating and challenging subjects” (i.e., there’s no app for that), and he offers advice and a few pointers in this article “10 Tips for Photographing Birds“.


If you want to see birds, you must have birds in your heart.John Burroughs (1837-1921)


Bird migration in the fall and spring is a perfect time to get out the binoculars* and explore, and with more than 700 bird species, US national parks are prime birding locations.  Check out the National Parks Conservation Association recommended best spots for fall bird watching HERE, and have some fun with your bird guide app.  From December 14 through January 5 each year, tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas brave snow, wind, and rain to take part in the Audubon Christmas Bird Count.  You can join the fun or follow the bird count results (check it out → here)  Starting in January, listen for the mockingbirds as they begin to sing throughout your neighborhood.

Birding Festivals – There are birding festivals at National Wildlife Refuge areas (home to more than 700 species of birds) around the US and throughout the calendar year.  It’s the perfect place to see and learn more about your favorite birds, or get a first look introduction to a species you don’t know.

🎅🏻 Christmas Bird Count – Every year from mid-December to early January, thousands of bird lovers  head outside to tally bird species.  Led by the National Audubon Society, it’s one of the longest running bird monitoring projects in the world, and the data collected helps researchers gauge how bird species will adapt to climate change and highlights shifting bird population trends. The best part is you don’t need to be an experienced birder or even have binoculars to join the fun.

Noah Strycker traveled across 41 countries and all 7 continents in 365 days with a backpack and binoculars, eventually spotting 6,042 species (the biggest birding year on record), and he wrote about his many adventures in the book Birding Without Borders: An Obsession, a Quest, and the Biggest Year in the World.  Recommended as a “wonderful” read by On2In2™ friend @nk03262


Submit your bird identifications via a comment to this article (see below ‘Leave a comment’). Sorry, there are no prizes available for this bird ID challenge (no answers either), only the joy of eBirding.  And, please share your birding adventures and photos with us!  [To comment on any On2In2™ article, you must first sign up as an “Engage” member.  No worries, it’s easy…Click this link]

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Give your backyard birds a cozy winter home and ‘Nancy’s Bird Butter’ for extra nutrition



John Audubon illustration of Ruff Necked Hummingbirds from his book, The Birds of America.

During the mid 19th century, John Audubon spent more than 10 years observing and painting birds, then years more creating and publishing his legendary series of illustrations The Birds of America.  You can view and download all the works of art from the original publication here at ⇒ Birds of America



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We’d love to hear from you!  If you’d like to comment on this post, join the conversation, or share your inspiration, and you have not yet registered as an On2In2™ playmaker, please sign up via the ‘Engage page’.  Don’t worry, it’s pretty quick and easy.




*If you purchase binoculars or a book via an Amazon link within this page, Zeester Media LLC may receive a small commission. This in no way affects the price you pay for the purchase.

All bird photos in this “Bird ID Challenge” article were sourced from Unsplash, CC0
Feature photo is courtesy of Ray Hennessy/Unsplash, CC0

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Posted by Zola Zeester

Zola is a vagabond playmaker, the On2In2™ recreation guru and primary source of inspiration for this article. Currently resides at Zeester Media HQ.


  1. The California Brown Pelican in Malibu, California. A sight to see!

  2. For those interested in nature/bird oriented travel highly recommend Victor Emmanuel Nature Tours based in Austin, Tx and Natural Habitat Adventures. Just finished reading Noah Stryker’s book Birding Without Borders–wonderful.

    1. Thank you for the great birding info, @nk03262 and please let us know the next time you spot a good one. Happy New Year, Z

  3. Bird watching is so much fun. I’m going to get the ‘Birding Without Borders’ book recommended by @nk03262

  4. Zeester Bird Watching friends, after you make my recipe for Bird Butter, then sign up for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology video course on Feeder Birds: Identification and Behavior. You do not have to be a member of the Lab to enroll but is a worthy cause and once you enroll, can watch at any time. I enrolled in Raptors, Shorebirds, and Waterfowel–2018! Just google Cornell Lab of Ornithology or perhaps Zeester can provide a link to get you there!

    1. Done, son. Nancy, thanks for the great tip for On2In2™ birders!

  5. It’s that time of year again — ‘The Christmas Bird Count’ (mid December to early January) & it’s easy to join the fun.

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