With just a little practice and observation, you'll find that differences will jump out at you. Study the sillouettes in the picture and see how well you can identify a bird just by the combination of size and shape.
Sillouette Answers: 1. Great Horned Owl, 2. American Crow, 3. European Starlings, 4. White-breasted Nuthatch, 5. Cooper's Hawk, 6. Blue Jay, 7. American Goldfinch, 8. Carolina Wren, 9. Woodpecker, 10. Northern Cardinal, 11. Black-capped Chickadee, 12. Mourning Doves, 13. Fox Squirrel, 14. House Sparrows, 15. American Robin
To become more familiar with silhouettes go to: AllAboutBirds.com-Size and Shape
Wild Birds Unlimited has bird song CDs available including one that has Michigan birds only.
And the Backyard Birdsong Guide is a very popular book that allows you to enjoy bird songs at the touch of a button while reading vivid descriptions of their songs, calls, and related behaviors. To become more familiar with songs go to: BirdJam.com and AllAboutBirds.com-Songs and Calls.
Also make sure your local birds are represented in the upcoming Great Backyard Bird Count February 17-20! It’s a huge citizen science project that gives a snapshot of the bird population each year.
Everything you need to know to participate is on the website at http://www.birdcount.org.