Thursday, November 21, 2013

Recording birds with digital images

Digital photography is becoming the norm for recording new bird sightings against the conventional methods of describing by notes and sketches. New members to this hobby will most likely own a digital camera, the conventional notes and sketches will be resorted to only after failure to capture decent images of their subjects. Digital images are convenient media, they save you the trouble to compose descriptive notes, where you might miss some fine details needed to nail the identity in the process.

A seasoned bird watcher will likely ask whether there are any images when confronted with assertion of new and rare bird sighting by fellow hobbyists.

I exclusively take photos and do not make notes and sketches, my birdlist only account for birds that I managed to take decent images.

However, digital images can be tricky at times.

When looking at the above images, it seems that there are more than one individual in the series, but the images are of one individual only. See that the lighting conditions can play tricks on the images, thus care must be taken in assessing the identity when viewing digital images.

Positive ID based on digital images alone might not be sufficient in certain cases, as more birds are now split based on DNA rather than morphology.

Sometimes bird sounds, habitats, and habits need to be noted to aid in identifying the birds positively. For example, the subject bird in this post, which is most likely (over 99% ) an Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis, might very remotely (less than 1 %) to be a Japanese Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus xanthodryas, however, I think they can only be positively identified by calls/songs, but I heard no call when taking these photos.

Happy birding.

Photodocument of the wild birds of Borneo.

Standard references for my blog.