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Old 08-15-2010, 10:07 PM   #1
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What kind of web resources do you guys use to identify the myriad insects, plants, and birds that turn up in your yards? I'd like it if you could point me in the right direction.

If I wanted to identify this plant I found in my flower bed, for instance, where should I begin?

I know about the Macaulay Library for animals, but what are some of your favorites?
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Old 08-15-2010, 10:11 PM   #2
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For insects, I use suunto! ~wink~
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Old 08-15-2010, 10:13 PM   #3
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For birds, www.allaboutbirds.org
Butterflies:www.butterfliesandmoths.org
Dragonflies: www.njodes.com
Insects: bugguide.net
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Old 08-15-2010, 10:15 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by dapjwy View Post
For insects, I use suunto! ~wink~

You're so helpful!

I want all that knowledge in my own brain!

bridget1964:
Thanks a million.
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Old 08-15-2010, 10:34 PM   #5
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bridget1964:
Thanks a million.
Yes, thanks, bridget.
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Old 08-15-2010, 10:57 PM   #6
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I use suunto, too! He is quicker and more accurate than any bug-guide.

I also have the "Butterflies of Carolinas" field guide, and "Caterpillars of the East Coast" which are useful. The NC Native Plant Society has a good photo section on plants local to NC. Your county agricultural extension probably has a master gardener service and/or your local nursery has skilled folks whom you can take plants to and ask "what is this, please?" I just took a bucket of plants into the NC botanical garden and one of the curators kindly took the time to id them for me (although she admitted ignorance of four out of two dozen or so, and took them to show to other folks, so I didn't feel so bad for not being able to ID them all).

It really helps to take a photo of what you want to ID, and have it in front of you (or the actual specimen) while you are trying to ID it, rather than trying to do it from memory.

Bridget - thanks for the links. I didn't know about the dragonfly one. I think the allaboutbirds one is the one I get to through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Site, which is a great organization for bird information.

Good luck, Sylvatica. It is a lot of trial and error IDing things the first time, and then you start to recognize the patterns and it gets progressively easier with time, at least with the more commons species.
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Old 08-15-2010, 11:23 PM   #7
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For plant ID, the Missouri Plants site is great because it's organized by color of flower and alternate or opposite leaves. That way you don't have to look through so many possibilities. It won't always help for those of us in the East, but lots of plants are widely distributed. Sometimes you can find a plant that's close and look around for other plants in that taxon. The USDA PLANTS site is good for that. You can also get a list of every plant in a family in a given state in the state search there.

Missouri flora web page

Welcome to the PLANTS Database | USDA PLANTS
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:37 AM   #8
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Thank you very much, turttle, for the advice. And thank you, swamp thing, for those awesome links. I really like how the Missouri flora page is arranged! Some other sites should take a hint from that one.
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Old 08-16-2010, 01:59 PM   #9
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Cool new avatar, Sylvatica!
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Old 08-16-2010, 02:32 PM   #10
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Cool new avatar, Sylvatica!
Thanks! I decided to use some fancy transparency.

And I love owls.
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