As I’ve mentioned before, clues for these quizzes are taken from bird guides and other resources.  The single resource for today’s quiz is a book I just purchased.  It is not a new book, about 6 years old.

Today we are looking at two species that can be difficult to separate under typical field conditions.  I have encountered this situation only one time in my birding experience.  The people with whom I was birding thought this ID was a no-brainer, based solely on their familiarity with the location.  We’re not talking habitat, we’re talking geographic location here.  I tried on a purist attitude and chose not to ID the species.

To answer this quiz, please do NOT indicate the species of either bird.  Instead, indicate a location where this difficult ID occurs.

Extra Credit: Tell us all how you separate these two species (I need the help!).

Here are the clues that I have gleaned from this new book:

1.     This identification is usually a no-brainer.  The only time it is difficult is based on location or during an irruption year.

2.     Size is interesting, but isn’t definitive.

3.     Facial characteristics are interesting, but aren’t definitive.

4.     Behavior is interesting, but won’t help.

5.     Song is interesting, but isn’t definitive.

6.     Wing coloration while sitting will help.  But not while flying.  Think “white”.

7.     Call will help.

8.     Beware of hybrids.

As always, unless otherwise indicated, all species are typical ABA species.

Good luck!

Written by Jory
Jory's first field guide-identified bird was a Northern Cardinal. This turned out to be his gateway drug into birding. In 2007 Jory became the least accomplished birder to see 300 birds in New York State in one year. He has birded the world over but maintains his birding "beginner mind", of which he is inordinately proud. Just ask him. Jory is the 10,000 Birds Avian Quizmaster, coming up with ever more diabolical ways to stump his legion of devoted fans. He lives with his wife and the possessions of his children just outside of Albany NY.