Bird topography

Quiz 26: Warblers and head patterns

This week’s quizzes will be looking at some warblers, in anticipation of the spring migration. With thanks, again, to Brian E. Small for providing the beautiful photos. You can see lots more at his website. You can read more about bird topography in my book Sibley’s Birding Basics.

Quiz 25: Wing patterns

Update: Congratulations to Alvan, the winner of the Backyard Birds poster. Thanks to all who took the quiz and entered. The response was fantastic, and keep watching for another prize giveaway in the near future. Today’s quiz introduces a new feature – a prize! If you get all three questions correct, be sure to click …

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Quiz 24: Wing Patterns

With thanks to the online wing collection of the Slater Museum of Natural History, University of Puget Sound for allowing the use of their wing photos. With thanks, again, to Brian E. Small for providing the beautiful photos. You can see lots more at his website, and clicking any of his photos links there as well.

Quiz 23: Wing patterns

With thanks to the online wing collection of the Slater Museum of Natural History, University of Puget Sound for allowing the use of their wing photos. With thanks, again, to Brian E. Small for providing the beautiful photos. You can see lots more at his website, and clicking any of his photos links there as well.

Quiz 22: Wing patterns

With thanks to the online wing collection of the Slater Museum of Natural History, University of Puget Sound for allowing the use of their wing photos. With thanks, again, to Brian E. Small for providing the beautiful photos. You can see lots more at his website, and clicking any of his photos links there as well.

Identification of female bluebirds by wing structure

A pale and grayish female bluebird found in North Carolina recently (March 2012) provided a very interesting identification challenge. The plumage colors were a good match for a typical female Mountain Bluebird, and that is how it was first identified. North Carolina has only one previous report of Mountain Bluebird, so this bird received a …

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Quiz 20: Wings, long and narrow

This quiz groups some relatively long and narrow wings. Pay special attention to subtle differences in shape, and bold white patterns. With thanks to the online wing collection of the Slater Museum of Natural History, University of Puget Sound for allowing the use of these photos.

All wings are the same, in some ways

Here is a quiz with three very different wings, and a detailed explanation follows (don’t peek). With thanks to the online wing collection of the Slater Museum of Natural History, University of Puget Sound for allowing the use of these photos.

Wings, above and below

Most birds have a very different pattern on the upperside and underside of their wings. On the coverts (the leading edge of the wing) this is easily explained because we are looking at entirely different feathers above and below. On the primaries and secondaries, however, there is just a single layer of feathers. How can …

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