I promised I would finish telling you how to identify birds by their wings and feet. Again I am using Sheila Buff’s The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Birdwatching, but you can also find a lot of this information at the beginning of your field guide.
When you see a perched bird, you can look for the coloring on the wings and also horizontal bars or patches. If you are confused, see my picture.
When a bird is in flight, you want to watch for two things: the appearance of the wings and the way the bird flies. I have several good field guides with pictures of birds in flight and also the patterns in which they fly.
Sometimes when a bird spreads his wings, you can see patches or bars. Our Northern Mockingbird is a good example. He flashes large white patches on each wing. Hawks and shorebirds can also be differentiated this way.