Database for the Birds

Here I am, living proof that on a really, really bad day you can pull something better up.

In a terrible funk of disappointment and pain yesterday I was wasting time online for succour and I looked to my right on this desk and saw my package of the Birds of China Playing Cards. Actually, these were printed in China, but they include birds from all over the world.

Four years ago I had started a list to identify each bird. I got stuck and asked a couple of questions on a birding forum, but I realized that I couldn’t expect them to go through the whole deck with me, so then I bought two full-colour, wonderful books.

Bird: The Definitive Visual Guide
by Birdlife International/Audubon
Dorling Kindersley Publishers

Extreme Birds: The World’s Most Extraordinary and Bizarre Birds
By Dominic Couzens


These were extremely helpful along with online searches, but I was stuck with 10 cards unidentified. There they sat, and sat, and sat for years. Yesterday I pulled my sheet and cards out, made extra notes, and went through my books. I identified three more, and through some often frustrating online searches using continual re-wording I found six more.

It cheered me up enormously.

I was stuck on the last one so posted a picture to get some help. One fellow suggested it was a Honeyeater which I had on my list but couldn’t find an exact match. However, after he said that I searched again and discovered it!

The final card, the Regent Honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia) formerly known as (Xanthomyza phrygia).



The yellow detailing on the card is not as vivid (which I found with a few of these cards) but that is definitely the bird.

And while I’m here, I’ll post from my database as well. It is SO neat to find good playing cards, and these required some time because of the Chinese titling and lack of identification but I persevered and will now type it all up to keep with the cards, thus facilitating explorations on daily draws.

BirdsofChinaPlaying Cards

Some nice examples of the illustrations on these cards.


I thought I’d never find that chap on the 9 of spades but I found him yesterday and he is a Spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus punctatus) to be exact.

Now you know, everybody sing!

Of pardalotes and potoos,
Antbirds and oxpeckers,
Trogons, minivets, and logrunners
Barbets and buff-banded rails
Sitting in the sun
Under enormous sky

And a small image of the cards with the insert I typed up, complete with suit symbols. Now I can fold this up and put it in the box with the cards. (Except it doesn’t fit as the cards are so tight in the box, rats.)







4 thoughts on “Database for the Birds

  1. Wow, perseverance, your name is Judith! Congratulations on that, it must be quite a feeling to have finally finished that 🙂

  2. I know how good it feels to search and identify something in a card like that. Excellent that you found them all. Must be very rewarding!

    Lovely cards too!

    Maybe this is our advice to learn from – ‘when we’re feeling down and out of sorts, look to the right’ 😃

    • I just finished editing the insert for the deck and printing it out in good–got the suit symbols on the sheet and all the Latin names.

      Oh, I love that–look to the right. A t-shirt saying!

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