In the time since I received my first bird identification book for Christmas last year, my knowledge about Minnesota’s more commonly spotted birds grew steadily before flattening to what felt like a sort of plateau. My bird book could only take me so far. I wasn’t sure how many more repetitions of the same irksome cycle I could handle:

1.       See bird.

2.       Use binoculars to confidently note key identifying markers.

3.       Whip out bird book to discover those are, in fact, not key identifying markers.

4.       Stare at bird.

5.       Stare at book.

6.       Stare at bird.

7.       Stare at book.

8.       Watch bird fly away.

9.       Utter strangled, guttural noise of frustration.

10.     Repeat.

Don’t even get me started on baby and teenage birds, whose features