One of the joys of birding is that it's an ongoing educational process.
There's a lot to learn and a lot of ways to learn it.
Field guides — Most book stores carry a variety of quality field guides with coverage areas ranging from a county to a continent.
Beginners should focus on guides that cover just a state or region to avoid confusion.
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Birding books that rely on illustrations usually offer several images per species and show the subtle differences that help determine gender, age and sub-species characteristics.
Sibley illustrated field guides are the standard when it comes to identification. Birding books by National Geographic and Peterson guides are good.
"The Guide to Kansas Birds and Birding Hot Spots" by area birders Bob Gress and Pete Janzen is the best seller in this area.
Organizations — There are many national and state organizations to help beginners get into birding.
Locally, the Wichita Audubon Society has informative monthly meetings and runs great field trips. Most members are open to working with beginners. For information go to www.wichitaaudubon.org/
Online, the Kansas bird list serve is an e-coffee shop for about 500 Kansas birders sharing great information. It's usually the first place to list special findings in Kansas.
To sign up, go to http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/ksbird-l.html.