Wedge Tail Eagle calls?

Subject: Wedge Tail Eagle calls?
From: Russell Woodford <>
Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2009 10:41:39 +1100
Good on you, Jessica, for posting your sighting and question.

You done the right thing by:

Describing the bird's appearance in as much detail as possible
Comparing its size with another better-known bird
Attempting a phonetic description of the call - something that even a lot of bird books do rather poorly!
Describing the behaviour of the bird
Including detailed info about where you saw it - something many of our long-term contributors forget to do!
Making a suggestion as to what species it might be
Asking for more information from experienced observers

Don't be put off by experienced birders who might have forgotten how confusing it is trying to identify birds when you are new to the game.

So ... Arm yourself with one or two of the available field guides. The Slater guide often doesn't appeal to novice birders because the illustrations look a bit simplistic, but it is one of the best for quick identification (and it is a good size). The Morecombe guide sometimes appeals to non-experts because the wonderful drawings look so much more "birdlike" and realistic, but a lot of us find that his drawings don't always capture the key differences as simply as other guides. I prefer the Pizzey and Knight guide because of the quality of the information. Simpson and Day is a favourite of a lot of other people. A lot of new birders buy photographic guides because they think a photo is going to help them more than a drawing, but are usually disappointed in the end because they only show one instance, one position, one or two plumage variations etc.

The web is also a fantastic resource - do a google image search for the bird you THINK it might be. But remember that these searches might throw up unrelated pics, including those of other birds, different eagle species, etc. Better still, have a look at ABID (Australian Bird Image Database) because there you'll find multiple images, poses, plumages etc of birds that HAVE been checked for accuracy:

Welcome to Birding-Aus, and I hope you continue to enjoy birding as you learn more. We look forward to hearing more from you in the future - and seeing some images of the birds you described so well (remember to post your images to a host site like Flickr or PhotoBucket, and send the link to the mailing list)

Cheers and happy birding

Russell Woodford

Birding-Aus List Owner

Geelong   Victoria   Australia

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