A crummy, through-the-windshield shot of our neighborhood pond and its easily-identified heron.
Audubon Handbook: How to Identify Birds
Some birds, like our local heron, are easy to identify. But I have spent weeks wondering about the black birds on the pond. I wasn't even sure what questions to ask until I got the book above. In it I learned to take note of swimming style (this bird's entire body was under water as it swam) and to notice what they did with their wings when they were out of the water (they held their wings outstretched.) Through my sleuthing, I discovered that they are double-crested cormorants. Now if I can just identify those teeny tiny birds that flit about the tops of the oaks. Harder to watch, much tougher to see their movements and their coloring.
Great Blue Heron