Rule of Thumb

Sizing a bird can be a little difficult (It certainly is for me), but Barbour points out that size gives you the first category.

One great tip that the Great Florida Birding Trail website has is to have your own mental "ruler." Look up sizes of different sized birds such as a Northern Mockingbird or House Sparrow. The Boat-tailed Grackle is about 15 inches while the Carolina Wren is only six to seven inches long.

Boat-tailed Grackle

Carolina Wren

When you see a new bird, you can ask yourself whether the bird looks about the size of a mockingbird, if so you've got your first clue as to what kind of the bird it may be.

It is preferable that you remember sizes of a small, medium, and large bird.

Flying birds may be a little harder to measure against your mental ruler as they are moving and because the distance can create an illusion. In general, moving birds will be harder to identify.

With your "ruler" in mind, you can gauge new birds you see against ones that you already know.