The beauty of nature is all around us this spring. During shelter in place, you might spend quiet mornings or afternoons on a back porch or look out a window and think, "What kind of bird is that?" You might hear a tweet and wonder, "Who is making that sound?"


We asked birding experts and enthusiasts through Travis Audubon what a beginning birder should know, and they gave us a guide of 25 common birds you might see in your backyard in Central Texas. Jane Tillman of Travis Audubon created the guide using "The Sibley Guide to Birds" by David Allen Sibley and allaboutbirds.org.


Get a field guide or download an app. Merlin Bird ID by Cornell University allows you to narrow your search by your location and date as well as take a picture and upload it. It will ask you questions such as the bird’s colors and how big it is. It also has the bird’s song that you can listen to. Its companion site is AllAboutBirds.org.


Each bird enthusiast has their favorite field guide, but you can start with a laminated one you can find in the grocery store: "Birds of Central Texas" by Greg Lasley. (You can also get it at an online bookstore).


Central Texas also has many Facebook bird groups. Laurie Foss, who teaches the beginning backyard bird class for Travis Audubon, recommends the Austin Birds group.


Listen first. Often, you’ll hear the bird before you see it. Start to learn some common bird calls by using the Merlin app or AllAboutBirds.org. If you hear a lot of ruckus from the blue jays, that’s often a sign that there’s a predator nearby. If you hear the bird switch its songs to something completely different, know that you might have a mockingbird.


Look for clues. Look up for nests and down on the ground for feathers. Also look at what bird foods, such as plants and insects, are around.


Snap a picture. Even if you just have your cellphone, snap a picture to help identify the bird later. (It prevents you from remembering it incorrectly and helps you see the details.) You can take that picture and put it into the Merlin app or compare it to your field guide. Bird photographer James Giroux sets up a blind to hide behind to get his photos and sets up a stick for birds to land on to get up-close photos.


Provide a water source. Attract birds with a birdbath, but in order to avoid grossness and mosquitoes, change out the water every other day. You also want to scrub it out often, because birds like to use the toilet there.


Provide food. Food can mean a tube-style feeder (it looks like a tube with an opening) or a hopper-style feeder (it actually might look like a house with a ledge to perch on). It can also mean providing a feeder of suet (fat that birds love).


Laura Hopkins, who owns Wild Bird Center of Lakeway, recommends people start with a simple tube feeder that has big perches that can accommodate a cardinal. If you’re buying seeds, she recommends starting with black oil sunflower seeds. Some birds like blue jays really like peanuts, too. While you can get inexpensive seed mixes in the grocery store, those sometimes have a lot of filler seeds in them, which might attract rats, skunks and mice. You can also throw down live mealworms, which birds love for their hatchlings right now.


Seed stores are considered agricultural and are able to be open. Hopkins says she’s doing curbside service and delivery right now.


Hummingbirds like flowering plants as well as a 1 part sugar, 4 parts water concoction you can make and put in a hummingbird feeder. Just make sure to trade it out every two or three days. Food also can come in the form of plants like sunflowers and thistle. Learn what kind of food the bird you want to attract likes and stock that seed or plant those bushes.


Provide shelter. This could mean planting natural grasses, trees and shrubs for birds to build their nests. Those also help provide shelter for food sources like insects and lizards. Some birds really do love a birdhouse, and you can go to nestwatch.org to download a birdhouse plan and find out where to set up your birdhouse based on specific birds.


Also consider providing nesting material such as dog hair, dried grasses and natural cotton in your yard.


Get a pair of binoculars. They do not have to be the most expensive. Look for something in the $100-$300 range. You want ones that have these numbers 8x and 42 (8 is the magnification and 42 is the size of the lens and how much light it lets in).


Involve the kids. Often, kids see things before adults do. They also have no preconceived notions of what kind of bird it is. AJ Johnson’s son Dashiell identified a rare owl when he was 2 by looking through a field guide. That owl wasn’t on Johnson’s radar because it’s not one that is supposed to be here, but sure enough, Dashiell was right.


Mary Kay Sexton, who is a retired middle school teacher, encourages parents to let the kids lead. It might start as bird watching and then end up looking at birds and insects.


Connect with the Audubon in your county. Find the website. Often there’s a "contact us" section, and through that, volunteers can help you identify a bird if you are stuck.


Create your list/journal. Giroux has seen 540 species (not just in his backyard) and photographed almost 400 of them. It becomes a challenge to see how many different bird species you can identify.