Last week, Jory Langner gave us a truly evil Avian ID Quiz. Now, he’s back with another test of your ornithological prowess. Don’t let the title fool you… this one is tough!
Last week’s Avian ID Quiz was apparently a bit too easy. Here’s another quiz just for fun. As before, it is based on interesting tidbits that I have found in various field guides and other birding references.
Try to guess the bird using the fewest clues. The answer, including references, will be given this Saturday.
Here are the clues:
- This bird would be a lifer for me. There was virtually no chance of me recording this bird in my 2007 New York State Big Year.
- “Charming pale plainness”
- Smallest of its “family”
- Tail Bobbing
- Nests regularly in tree cavities
- Mesquite along a desert wash
- EXTRA CREDIT: “The expression is innocent.” This sentence was used in describing this species. What does this mean?
Good luck, and check in on Saturday for the answer!
Can you believe that Jory made me guess before he’d give me the answer?!? The clues make me think Wrentit but they’re too big. How about Bushtit?
My initial guess was Lucy’s Warbler, but that should be a rather easy species for NY, right?
After clue #5 I went with Lucy’s Warbler.
I didn’t realize they were tail-bobbers, though. But I’ve only seen one twice.
As for the innocent expression thing, those type of statements are very subjective. To me, a Philadelphia Vireo looks extremely cute and sweet. But I can’t really put my finger on why. I suppose it’s the short bill and facial markings that are contrasting, but not too contrasting (as opposed to the Red-eyed Vireo. Well, besides the red eyes which alone make it fierce-looking).
“The expression is innocent” because Lucy’s Warbler has no black on the head. Compare the fierceness of an Orange-crowned Warbler with the “open” aspect of a Yellow Warbler, or the earnest face of a Philadelphia Vireo (dark lore) with the feckless goofiness of a Warbling Vireo (pale lore). “Innocent” isn’t subjective, just a terminus technicus for the presence or absence of strong markings on a bird’s head.
I agree it’s Lucy’s Warbler. I remember that they’re small (though not if they’re the smallest warbler), and that they nest in cavities. Since they live in desert washes, and are pretty plain, that seems like a good fit.
I’m curious as to whether or not there are any records of Lucy’s Warbler for New York. Does anyone know where you can find the official New York state list?
I thought this was still “up” somewhere out there:
(The odd typo in the photo caption was corrected in the print version, I seem to recall.)
@Jon: The New York State checklist can be viewed here. And my uneducated pre-posting guess was Elf Owl…
American Golden Plover!
Oops, that was the last quiz.
Lucy’s Warbler seems a good fit.
Could the answer be found in Pete Dunne’s Essential Field Guide Companion?
easy one…..A Bobbing-tale Yadray Brahupta?
Raven. What do I win?