To create icons from any of your images, making rest of the background as transparent, follow the steps below:
* Open the image in Photoshop Elements Editor.
* Select the Object using any of the selection tools suiting your needs. To understand how to make precise selections, you may visit the posts.
|Selected the bird using quick selection tool|
* Right click the selection and select Layer via Copy
* The layer panel now shows the selection in a separate layer.
* Delete the background layer in layers panel using right click option. And here is I see the Bird with transparent background which I can save to be used as icon.