“Diabolical to the Extreme!” was an apt name for the latest quiz, it turned out, mostly because the most any single person managed to get correct was three birds out of five. Nate, Donna, and noflickster managed that feat and will split the prize of a life bird per month in 2010, so each will get a life bird every three months in the new year. Congratulations, and we all bow down in awe of your bird identification skills!  Do you want the answers?  Well read on, dear reader, and see what you got right and what you got wrong.  Just don’t forget that if you read the quiz and did not guess you are destined to see NO lifers for at least six months.  Next time you should guess!

The bird in this first quiz picture was correctly identified first by Nate, who somehow managed to figure out that the bird depicted is a White-throated Sparrow.  Also correctly identifying the bird were Mike and Donna.

The bird in picture number two was first correctly identified as an American Robin by Brendan.  I figured this bird would be a bit tougher to guess because most people don’t associate robins with winter.  Alas, in addition to Brendan, noflickster and Mark were not fooled by the diabolicalicity of an American Robin in winter, even with the shadow of bittersweet on its plumage.

Picture number three was the one I figured would be easiest to answer, and, sure enough, every single person who guessed correctly identified it as a Mourning Dove.  While I thought it was pretty easy, I didn’t think it would be that easy to figure out Zenaida macroura.

I was rather pleased with my diabolicalness in choosing this shot as picture number four.  I figured people would have no problem determining that it was a woodpecker but they might have a hard time guessing which woodpecker.  Sure enough, everyone that guessed knew the bird was a woodpecker, though slightly less than half thought Downy Woodpecker, the incorrect answer, and one guesser thought Hairy Woodpecker, another incorrect answer, everyone else (Nate, Patrick, Noflickster, Donna, and Nick) correctly identified the mystery bird as a Red-bellied Woodpecker.

And, finally, quiz picture number five, the most diabolical of them all.  In the first attempt not a single person correctly guessed this bird’s identification (no one mentioned this bird for any picture).    Guesses included Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Ash-throated Flycatcher, and, most inventively, pocket lint, a species not-yet-recognized by the ABA. After I pointed out that no one had even named the bird, much less named it in association with picture number five, Jason managed to figure out that he was looking at an American Goldfinch.  I wonder why he knows what the butt-end of an American Goldfinch looks like?  I kid, I kid…

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.