Monday, January 28, 2008

Tricky Identifications

Last night I had a question about a sparrow identification (Please see blog post below from Sunday). By any stretch, it was a SONG SPARROW. But there was this issue with those darker-than-normal flanks. This bird had a thicker-than-song-like body (probably due to cold weather) and oh, I'm sure there were 10 other things that my mind could have tricked me into seeing while in the field. It only gets worse though, when this misidentification continues with photographic evidence.The moral of the story is to pay attention to all of the details when in the field, take a photo (if at all possible) and have ask those who know and have experience. It's the best way, I've found, to learn. In my Volvo Bird-Mobile Station Wagon, I always have several Field Guides.

Sibley: Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern North America? It's in there!
Kaufman Field Guide to Birds Of North America? Check.
National Wildlife Federation Guide? You bet.
Raptors of Eastern North America, Wheeler Guides? I just got it and really enjoy it.
Hawks From Every Angle? I'm pretty sure that it's under the passenger seat!
MOS Yellowbook? What County Lister doesn't have one?
Duck Stamp? It's a must have for every birder.

Truth be told, I'm just beginning this County listing thing. What better way to learn the birds and our amazing State? On a side note, my bird mobile is a 'turbo-wagon'. This feature helps when I am chasing a rare bird sighting.

So how about a quiz?

Can you tell me what's wrong with this photo? I found this bird (bag of coffee) at the Annapolis Whole Foods. The Bird Couple and the Haas Family like to refer to this store as, "Whole Paycheck."If this isn't reason enough to get your ALWAYS fresh-roasted coffee beans from Caffe Pronto in Annapolis, I just don't know what is!

I do think that the proceeds from this mislabeled coffee go to a very bird-friendly cause, so please don't stop buying because of the mistaken identity! Personally, I find the NORTHERN PARULA to be a strikingly attractive bird. Maybe I'll draw one with crayons and send it to this coffee shop?

Finally, my apologies for labeling those NORTHERN PINTAILS as LONG TAILED DUCKS. But, c'mon now it was late... and they BOTH had long tails. Geez... those details! I did correctly enter NORTHERN PINTAIL into my eBird Sunday evening before I wrote my blog.

Thorough, detailed but always GOOD Birding to you...

Dan

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