You can practice your counting skills as we approach the Christmas Bird Counts throughout the area in December. Bob Danley in a recent Bitterroot Outdoor Journal on KLYQ Radio had suggestions:
Identification (2 steps):Determine the General Impressions of Size and Shape (GISS - from WWII aircraft spotting)More detail - start at the head and work to the tail, how big some parts of the body are compared to other parts - size of bill, length of tail, etc.Additionally - capture sounds and note bird behavior, like hopping, flight, or water action.
Counting:Birds don't stay still, so quickly develop a system of counting by blocks of 5, 10, 20 or more. Practice with the photos above and below.
When are the Bird Counts? We have some of the information for you right here.