Bird Identification

A Cerulean-like song variant of Black-throated Blue Warbler

This recording includes one song of Cerulean Warbler and one of Black-throated Blue Warbler. Can you tell them apart? Distinguishing Black-throated Blue Warbler and Cerulean Warbler by song is usually not too difficult, even though both have buzzy songs with a more or less rising trend. The typical songs of both species are distinctive, and …

A Cerulean-like song variant of Black-throated Blue Warbler Read More »

The head shape of Herring Gulls seems to change seasonally

sketch of gull head shapes

I always enjoy studying Herring Gulls, just looking at variation and trying to categorize the birds into age, sex, and regional groups. Last winter I was watching the gull flock at Turners Falls, MA, paying special attention to when the adults molted into breeding plumage. My thought was that the early-molting birds would be from …

The head shape of Herring Gulls seems to change seasonally Read More »

Announcing Song Sleuth

I’m very excited to be able to announce the long-awaited launch of a new app – Song Sleuth – created by Wildlife Acoustics, Inc. It’s a bird song identification assistant, just a couple of taps and your iPhone will suggest what species of bird is singing. It covers nearly 200 of the most frequently heard …

Announcing Song Sleuth Read More »

White flickers

  This beautiful and striking bird is a partial albino Northern Flicker, photographed in Massachusetts in Sep 2015 by Michael Beagan. A second, very similar, bird had been photographed nearby in 2012 by John Harrison, and – besides being very attractive birds – the two provide a good opportunity to discuss some of the details …

White flickers Read More »

Underwing pattern in Cory’s Shearwater

If you keep up on the news of subspecies, you will have heard of Scopoli’s Shearwater. It’s the Mediterranean breeding population of Cory’s Shearwater, overlapping very little with populations nesting on Atlantic Islands, and many authorities have split the two into separate species recently. Both populations occur off the Atlantic coast of North America, although Cory’s in …

Underwing pattern in Cory’s Shearwater Read More »

A very young sandpiper

This image is for sale in an auction here Identification of downy young sandpipers can be a real challenge in the arctic, where multiple species occur, but I saw and sketched this one on Great Gull Island, New York, last weekend. At that latitude only a few other species are possible, and most are easily eliminated …

A very young sandpiper Read More »