A teaser of spring wood-warblers on this bonus day of February. Two questions for each of the photos will help you practice applying your knowledge of head feathers. Thanks to Brian E. Small for allowing the use of his beautiful photos. You can see lots more at his website, and clicking any photo links there […]
Archives for February 2012
In a previous post I’ve talked about Trumpeter Swans with yellow bill spots as a source of confusion with Tundra Swan. I speculated that the yellow spots might be showing because the birds are leucistic (lacking melanin). The responses to that post are worthy of a follow-up. Harry Lumsden, who has studied the reintroduced Trumpeter […]
One of the well-defined groups of feathers on the underside of a bird is what we call the breast. In reality, on songbirds these feathers grow from the front of the neck, extending down so that the tips of the feathers (which is all we can see) cover the foreparts of the body – the […]
I’m happy to report some news about the Sibley eGuide to birds: The price of the app in all versions has been reduced 30% to $19.99, and a new Lite version for iPhone and iPad is available for free at iTunes. This is a fully functional version of the app that includes only 30 species. […]
In previous posts here I’ve asked “How many rare birds do we miss?” and the related question “How many rare birds do we find?” Several recent rare bird discoveries provide a good chance to revisit these questions. Consider these recent discoveries:
I’ll be at MassAudubon’s annual Birders Meeting next Saturday, March 3rd, in Waltham, Massachusetts. Directions and more info is here. The theme is seabirds, and there is a great lineup of presentations by such luminaries as Debi Shearwater and Dr. Steven Kress. When you’re not engrossed in the presentations, you can find me at a table […]
This quiz is about taking the feather groups you’ve learned in previous quizzes, and applying them to real birds, to see how color patterns follow the basic feather groups. And big thanks to Brian E. Small for allowing the use of his superb photographs for the quiz feature here. You can see more at his […]
This quiz features a Dark-eyed Junco, a species with no discernible color pattern on the head. How can you distinguish groups of head feathers with no color patterns? By looking for the subtle creases and shadows at the edges of the feather groups, and differences in the orientation of the feathers.
The other morning I was passing a farm field near my house. It’s a place where I often go birding and as I glanced around I was thinking “maybe there could be a Rough-legged Hawk today”. But I’ve never seen a Rough-legged Hawk here in 12 years in the neighborhood, and all I could see […]
Here is a close-up of the head of a Song Sparrow, showing the feather groups and feather markings really well. In the copy below, I’ve outlined the feather groups, so that you can test your knowledge in the quiz that follows.