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    • @StephenL started a conversation asking for help identifying a bird, but deleted it shortly thereafter. I had started my reply before it was deleted, but I thought it might still be useful to post what I had intended.

      I'm not very experienced at bird identification, but I do like to be able to identify some of the birds I see often in my area. When I'm trying to identify a bird I'm unfamiliar with, I use a few different resources. First I try to narrow it down to species that are found in my area. For that I will go to something like The Oregon Department Fish and Wildlife. They have separate pages for other types of animals as well.

      Hopefully I can narrow it down and go straight to the category of bird I saw. However, they only have one picture per species, and sometimes that isn't enough to feel confident that I've got a proper ID. So if I need more help I'll turn to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. They have more information and many more photos about specific birds and that's usually where I get the information I need to feel good about an ID. They often have images for male and female dimorphism, juvenile plumage, seasonal range maps, and audio of bird calls to aid identification. It's a really good resource for anyone interested in birds of North America.

      The Cornell Lab also have a useful bird identification app (on the web or mobile OS) called Merlin that asks where and when you saw the bird, the size, and whether it was in the trees, on the grass, etc. and provides a list of potential birds to look through. If you choose to sign up (they require an email for more than one search unless you want to repeatedly delete cookies for their website) you can likely skip straight to Merlin and find what you're looking for.

    • Thank you for this, @wgoodey. Had I known there were experienced birders in the house I wouldn’t have had second thoughts about my original posting.

      Below is the photo I took of a bird sitting near the top of an electric tower. I believe it’s a Cooper’s hawk, based on the white chest, but I could be mistaken.

    • My first guess was a Peregrine Falcon. But they're very similar in markings and unfortunately the picture doesn't have enough detail to really say for sure. Based on the range maps for Coopers Hawks it's probably more likely than the Peregrine, which has a much smaller range. Maybe you'll get a better sighting another time and will be able to get a more confident identification. Raptors can be difficult because they're often far enough away that you don't see much detail.