Welcome! We understand you're excited to learn about that mystery bird you saw, and we're delighted to help. Some members can give you an answer based on a surprisingly small amount of data. Still, the more information you provide, the more likely we'll reach a correct identification.
Please start a new post for your bird; your request may be overlooked if you add it to an existing discussion. At a minimum, please include these items:
⦁ What did the bird look like? If you have photos (or audio files!), you can drag the files directly into your post. You can also link to most popular photo sharing sites If not, what colors were the head, body, wings, and tail? Can you compare the mystery bird to a bird you're already familiar with? Was it smaller, fatter, longer necked, shorter tailed, etc.?
⦁ Where did you see the bird? Please tell us what state or province you were in. Other useful items are geographic region, city or county, local or national park, body of water, etc. Please avoid using zip codes; researching them slows your request.
⦁ When did you see the bird? Often the month is enough, although the day or week is better. Time of day is also useful (early morning, middle of the night, etc.)
That information is usually enough, but some birds are very similar. These items can be useful in narrowing down the options:
⦁ What was the local environment? Was the bird in a forest, desert, beach, urban area, etc.? Was it raining, snowing, windy, etc.?
⦁ What was the bird doing? Was it hopping, flying, singing, sitting still, etc.? If it was eating, what was it having for lunch?
⦁ Were there other birds? Did they look like the mystery bird or were they different? Were there a few of them or many?
Please limit your requests to five birds per post. When there are more than five ID requests in a single post, it becomes difficult to follow the discussion of each bird or photo.
If you think you know what the bird is, please enter its name as a tag. For multiple species, it's easier to use tags than to list them all as a lengthy title. Also, tags improve search results. You can enter the location as a tag, too. To use tags in a new post, look for 'Tags' near the top and click '+Choose'. Enter your tags separated by commas, such as 'Carolina Wren, Blue Jay, Lexington, South Carolina' (without the quotes).
Please be patient. We have many active members, but we aren't Facebook or Twitter. It may be a few hours before our members respond, especially if your request requires research. If you don't have a reply within 24 hours, feel free to 'Bump' your question.
Sometimes a bird can't be identified. All of us here have had sightings and photos that left us scratching our heads. That's just part of birding.
Thanks for joining us! We hope you come to enjoy birding as much as we do.