So you want a free copy of the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America, don’t you? Of course you do. The question is how you can get one. Well, thanks to our friends at Houghton Mifflin, we are giving away two copies of Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America. My question to you is this:

Do you want to do this the easy way or the hard way?

The easy way is simple: just participate in our Praiseworthy Peterson Field Guide Giveaway by saying something both accurate and acclamatory about the Great Man himself, Roger Tory Peterson. Better get on this offer quickly though, because the deadline is 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, September 10.

The hard way, on the other hand, is a true test of your North American birding acumen, one that should challenge even the most mettlesome bird spotter. You see, one of my favorite features in the Peterson Field Guide is the plethora of plates focusing on bird silhouettes. Peterson offers exquisite shadow plays of birds at the shore, in flight, or loafing along a roadside. Enthusiasts who wish to master the secrets of holistic birding, which emphasizes general impressions of shape and size (you know the acronym for that, right?) as much as field marks would do well to study these plates. If you can identify a bird by silhouette, you can identify the bird in just about any conditions.

Can you identify a bird by silhouette? Let’s hope you can for the sake of this contest!

I’ve posted below, with the kind permission of the publisher, the two plates that represent Roadside Silhouettes. Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to identify each of these 32 birds and e-mail me your guesses. The person who accurately identifies the most will receive a free copy of Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America. If more than one person occupies the top spot, I’ll select one of them at random. Easy, right?

Some of you may observe that it would be a simple matter for anyone to pick up a Peterson Field Guide and copy the answers. Of course it would. Then again, it would also be easy for me to claim that a Philadelphia Vireo is sitting on my windowsill right now or, better yet, waiting to meet us at the Montezuma Muckrace this weekend. Birding demands both trust and honor. I trust that each contestant will respond to this challenge honorably. Anyway, if you cheat, I expect that the birding gods themselves will curse you to never behold a life bird again!

So show us how bold your birding skills really are. Some of these silhouettes represent specific species while others stand for genera. I recommend that you identify a species for each silhouette. Send your responses to me at mike AT 10000birds DOT com by 11:59 PM EST Monday September 15. Also, after you send me your entry, make a note of it in the comments below. Your competitors need to know who they’re dealing with!

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.