Friday, November 29, 2013

Quiz Birds Answered/ID Skills Questioned




Quiz Bird #1 really baffled people, with several people thinking it was a sort of woodpecker or Corvid. I don't really know what to say about that. It is, in fact, a sandpiper. I thought the bulk and bill shape of the bird suggested Pectoral/Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, and Ruff...as you can see here, Ruff is the correct answer. Peep them white wing linings. People struggled with this one, no doubt.

Finally, what you have all been waiting for...the results of the BirdsEye photo quiz! Some of these were pretty devious, and some I think most people had a solid shot at. Most likely, you will all think I'm a sadistic son-of-a-bitch. I never claimed that you would be able to get a diagnostic ID on all of these, did I?

We have a trio of contestants who managed to get 4 out of 7 correct. Congratulations go out to Christian Schwarz, Chris Burney, and Dipper Dan for their high levels of performance. Since Christan and Chris got submitted their answers first, they will each recieve a copy of BirdsEye North America. Props to you guys, and I'm sure the folks at the Global Birder Ranking System will take notice. Expect an email with the promo code to come your way soon.

Thanks to all who played!!!



This is the bird that was bringing food to Quiz Bird #2. I think yall know what it is. Hella people got this bird correct, maybe just because Chipping Sparrow is such a common bird everywhere. Clay-colored Sparrow was an excellent guess, I honestly have no idea how one would tell apart Chipping and Clay-colored at that age. Photographed at Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge, North Dakota.


Hella people got this one correct too, good on ya! This Blackburnian Warbler was photographed at Dry Tortugas National Park, FL.


Many of you thought Quiz Bird #4 was utter bullshit, and you are all correct about that. Exactly one person guessed got the ID right.  Quiz Bird #4 featured the lower neck of this Greater White-fronted Goose. Honestly that picture could have been a number of species. Sandhill Crane, Plain Chachalacha and Canada Goose were all worthy guesses.


Quiz Bird #5 is a Black-vented Shearwater, which a number of you got correct. The upperparts are too dark and wings too short for Pink-footed. Manx Shearwater was a close guess, which a number of you chose, but you could see just enough of the pale head to eliminate that species. Manx is also prone to showing more white coming up the side of the rump. Photographed off Ventura, CA.



Quiz Bird #6 was a deliberate decoy. You were supposed to think it was a Bobolink, and that was the most popular guess. But nay, this bird is no Bobolink, it is a male Lark Bunting! Birders may recall that a male Bobolink has an enormous yellow patch on the back of his head, which would have been quite visible in the quiz photo. Lark Bunting is the only similarly-shaped black passerine we have (short tail, conical bill, somewhat broad wings); some birders may have picked up on the spread tail and open bill, indicating the bird was in a display flight (which it was), which also helps narrow the field of possible guesses. Photographed at Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge, MT.



Quiz Bird #7 was also problematic for many people, and I will be the first one to admit that when I saw this bird in person my mind drew a total blank. It was a brainbird, something I had previously not even conceived of. Eventually I realized it was a member of locally abundant species...'twas a juvenile Lapland Longspur, a plumage rarely seen in the Lower 48. Photographed on Buldir Island, AK.

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