I’m going to shift themes again. I’ve already covered social distancing and cleanliness, now I will tackle the uncertainty aspect of coronavirus. I am not using coronavirus as an overarching theme to make light of this crisis,￼￼ but rather to highlight the indomitable human spirit and bring a bit of levity to these trying days.
Therefore, with this post I kick off a run of Birding Quiz posts. I’ll reveal the answers in the next day’s post. Thanks for playing along and for supporting BirdsofNewEngland.com.
The first question is: What is in the above photo?
Those who guessed savannah sparrow were right! Look for these streaked sparrows this fall migration in open areas, including farmland, fields and marshes. They are often found on the ground. The yellow on the head is not always as prominent as seen in these photos. Sparrows can be tricky, which is why many birders simply lump them into the LBJ (little brown job) category. Take your time and study the patterns, bills and anything else that stands out (eye ring?) in your bird to increase your chances of a positive ID.
Here are some more photos of that savannah sparrow. Thanks for supporting Birds of New England.
Here’s a quick quiz to kick off your Labor Day Weekend (even though it’s a day late for that). Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer, which means it’s time to transition into fall. With that in mind, keep your eyes to the sky, woods, brushy areas and fields for fall migrants. There will be many sparrows around and they can be tricky in the fall. This quiz will help get you ready for those LBJs. Email or comment with your response. As usual, there is no prize associated with a correct answer, only the joy of playing along with a BirdsofNewEngland quiz. Thanks for joining in.
Here’s a quick birding quiz for your Tuesday. The answer will be revealed later today when I post the most recent For the Birds column. Hint: With winter approaching, people throughout New England are seeing different visitors at their feeders as birds “irrupt” from the north and west.
At second look, maybe this one wasn’t so easy. The most popular answers — chickadee and titmouse — are indeed common backyard feeder birds, so they are good guesses. It also does look like a blue jay — the third-most common answer — as it’s hard to gauge how large the bird is in the photo.
Only 10 percent of participants got it right: white-breasted nuthatch. The giveaway is coloration (although it shares blue, black and white with blue jay), especially the rusty red feathers exposed as it flies. Of the options given, it is is only bird that features that rusty red.
The photo above was taken a few seconds before the one of the nuthatch flying off.
My birding quizzes are sometimes easy, sometimes hard and sometimes in the middle. I would rank this one as a tough one. If I weren’t at the scene I doubt I would have come up with the answer. Oh well, there’s no cost to play, no prizes for winners and no penalty for wrong guesses.
Email, tweet, Facebook or comment here with your guess. Thanks for playing along.
Quick hint: Yes, it is a bird found in New England. Also, to be fair since there is no real size perspective, it is about the size of a robin. I’ll drop more hints today and tomorrow.
I should know better than to try to fool my viewers. Once again you passed the birding quiz with flying colors as 56 percent of you got the right answer. It is a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak. It it colored nothing like the flashy male, but the overall shape and bill size and shape are similar to the male.