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.
“We’re not talking habitat, we’re talking geographic location here. ”
OK – I’ll take a punt at this one:
1. North America
2. North America
3. North America
4. North America(?)
5. North America
6. North America(?)
7. North America
8. North America
Southern Appalachian Mountains (usually about 4000-5000 ft. elevation)?
@tai haku – absolutely and technically correct. I’m sorry to say, however, that no award can be given. You’ll need to be much more specific.
Awww man! Harsh but fair Jory – It was worth a shot though right?
What Mike said plus vaguely around the Mason-Dixon line.
As for separating them, I find the southern one to generally be more solidly only shades of gray but found them rather confusing towards the overlap zone this winter. Staying out of the zone is by far the easiest way.
@Jason and @Mike … hmmmm … two correct answers?
– You guys are great on the location, as the Mason-Dixon line is approximately the correct area.
– Elevation throws me off. I think that you are thinking of a different pair of species. Very cool.
Now it’s my time to guess – I’ve seen what I guess “your” northern species is only once at a feeder during the winter a few years back. It wasn’t looking at the suet or the seed. I’ve seen “my” northern species at feeders all the time.
I think we’re all talking about the same pair (check a range map, the northern one has an extension down the mountains). I did think of the one you’re thinking off first (I think, was there a controversial one in NY earlier this winter?) but I don’t think clues 5-8 apply.