When it comes to the identification of birds, I usually affect the supposed approach of the Cockney birdwatcher - "Big ones are ducks. Little ones are sparrows" - but in truth, as Simon Barnes points out, most of us can identify many birds. He lists 10 for starters, and, yes, most of these seem familiar (robin, swan, duck, blackbird, swallow, crow, sparrow, blue tit, heron, pigeon). So, he says, "there is an awful lot of latent knowledge of birds that most people in this country possess. Birds are part of our common culture."
The point he makes - with humour and plenty of anecdotes - is that you don't have to be a fanatic to enjoy birds. They're all around us, amiably sharing and enriching our world in a way that matchbox labels or stamps never can.