Color patterns on the heads of birds are some of the most complex, and also some of the most important for identification. Understanding those patterns is significantly easier if you learn the five major groups of head feathers, since the contours of the feathers define most of the color patterns shown by birds. In the […]
Archives for February 2012
In this quiz your challenge is to compare the weight of the birds with common household items. There is variation in the weight of the birds, and variation in the weight of some of the other items, so this is meant to be a comparison of the average weight for each. We could quibble over […]
or: How to point out the location of a bird Discussions of birding techniques dwell mainly on finding and identifying birds, as they should, but as soon as you’ve accomplished one or both of those things, it’s essential to be able to direct other people to the bird you are seeing. Unfortunately this aspect of […]
Below is a chance to test your knowledge of bird size, by selecting the heavier species in each of five pairs of birds. Weight, or apparent bulk, is one of the key factors in our impressions of overall size, and it’s helpful to think about it explicitly. Watch the birds at your bird feeder or […]
Each label in the photo above points to a feather group associated with the wings. In the quiz below, choose the correct name for that labeled feather group.
Identify the two labeled feather groups in the quiz below, with a couple of bonus questions.
Yesterday I painted a Northern Saw-whet Owl of the very distinctive Queen Charlotte Islands subspecies A. a. brooksi, which was inexplicably left out of the first edition of the Sibley Guide. I’ll post more details about the status and identification of this subspecies here soon. Today I’m just posting photos that I took showing the […]
The major groups of feathers on the wing are showing well on this American Robin, and each is labeled with a letter. In the quiz below, select the letter that matches the feather group named in that question.
Here’s the next installment in quizzes. I’ve removed the titles this time so hovering over the image shouldn’t give it away (but some browsers will still show the file name, try to ignore those and in the future I’ll use random file names). For those of you seeing this in Google Reader, I understand that […]
A recent discussion about geographic variation in Herring Gulls (on the ID-Frontiers listserve) prompted me to go back and scan some photos I took in 1998 at Cape May. At the time I was sorting out what seemed to be two populations of Herring Gulls, identifiable in their first winter by plumage and shape. There […]