This is the first article of many to come of a new feature called Online Field Guides. This is where we bring you a different valuable nature field guide in each article.The idea of Nature Center Magazine is to help everyone to learn to understand the nature that we all know and love. Sharing these free online field guides is a large step in the right direction. The very first field guide that we will share is WhatBird.com.

WhatBird, as its name indicates, helps you to identify birds. We began with this one because it's simply the best online field guide we've found so far. The only flaw is that it is limited exclusively to birds of North America. For most of you, that won't be a problem. Let's see why it's such a good guide.

I don't think I've seen a more complete field guide to birds, online or in book form. This may also be the easiest field guide I've ever seen. You can use the search box at the top to find a bird of which you already know the specific name. But the real value is the Search section, included in the links bar at the top.

In this Search section you can check off individual attributes of any bird you find. It gives you multiple choices so you don't have to think anything up yourself. It will narrow down your search each time you check off an attribute of your bird.When you have picked all of the choices that you can think of, your bird is usually the only one left over from all the birds in the database. If there are more than one bird, simply go to each choice and compare each bird with your own. You'll almost always be able to find your bird, even if you're a novice.

Go check out WhatBird.com.

We are still looking for more online field guides every day. If you know of a good site with information on any feature in nature,share the link with us in the comments section. You may also leave a link to your own site if you have one. We will give credit to the first person that shares the link to a guide when we write the article for it. We are looking for guides from all over the world, so one for your area would be very helpful.


  1. My well worn field guide fits better in my pack to carry. Looked this site over a while back, think I saw it in another birding periodical.I like my specific to state books but never have my Stokes too far away from my computer.

  2. I got really excited until I found out that the bird guide wasn't going to be of much help to me as a Brit...I'm not to worried though as I still have my books and maybe will in the future give you a lesson on some British birds!!

  3. @Out On The Prairie
    I understand. These online guides aren't very portable, but they're very good resources for most beginners and others who aren't ready to spend money on the books yet. I use both ways.

  4. @Allotments4you
    I think I have the right solution for you. The next article in this series will address a guide for European birds.

  5. Did you know the entire whatbird.com field guide is available as an app for the iPod touch or iPhone. Its a 4.5 of 5 star product which Macworld magazine named the best reference app of 2009. They have it for the iPad too.

    Review in NY Times

    iBird in iTunes web site

  6. @Anonymous
    Thanks for the information. This makes whatbird.com possibly even better than most books for users who want something portable as well. It would also be much lighter to carry along than any book.


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