Waterfowl, Cornell Pamphlets, & Audubon Chapters
I started birding back in the 90’s with the suggestion from my sister Melinda to “start with waterfowl.” I now know how great this suggestion was. Ducks, Geese, Swans are all large and frequently hold still on large bodies of water.
The distinctive Northern shovelers, Cinnamon teals, and Ruddy ducks were some of the first birds I identified all by myself. Wilson’s phaleropes were the first ones I struggled with. Pouring over my Sibly guide for a number of hours. Mallards I had known because it’s hard to NOT know some of the common birds when your Mom and sister are birders.
In any case, I wish I had these three pamphlets when I was learning about waterfowl. They wouldn’t have helped me with the phalerope but otherwise… I still use them when I’m looking at waterfowl in non-breeding plumage. All of these are available on Amazon.
- Waterfowl ID Series: 1 The Basics Pamphlet
- Waterfowl ID Series: 2 Dabbling & Diving Ducks
- Waterfowl ID Series: 3 Sea Ducks
The best advice I have for beginning birders is to go birding with your other birders. A good place to find them (birders with more experience) is to through your local Audubon chapter. Additionally, most local chapters offer field trips which can get you into some of the best birding areas near you.
Another tip is to look up the local Audubon chapter when you are traveling I’ve gotten to go to some amazing bird spots because I joined a field trip far from home. See Audubon Chapters: https://www.audubon.org/about/chapters