Rockjumper Tours

aba events

March/April 2013 Birding “Photo” Quiz

Here’s an image of the quiz bird in the March/April 2013 issue of Birding magazine:



Where to start? Well, it would be helpful to note the date and location.

Ask, and ye shall receive. The photo is from the third week in April (like, right now), and the location is southeastern Arizona.

Need more? Here’s a 26-second video of the bird:


Note that this isn’t a birdsong quiz. You can hear some background noise, but that’s not the point of the quiz. The bird is just out there, doing exactly what this species does on its spring migration.

If you have prior experience with this species, you’re probably thinking this is an easy quiz. Fair enough. But give thought for a moment to what’s going on here. This quiz is easy precisely because of the video. We don’t have an illustration of the bird; the vocalizations are, at best, equivocal; the videograb is so poor that it would never, ever, be published in any self-respecting field guide; and there’s absolutely no written description—except that I’ve told you the date and location.

In other words, we have a resource here that cannot be provided by a traditional field guide. It’s a resource that could form the basis for a fantastic next generation of field ID apps. But not yet. Today’s apps, I think it’s fair to say, take material from print field guides, and then repackage it in an e-medium.

How about a field guide app that basically starts over? Instead of giving us the still photos and illustrations and written words from field guides, how about an app that gives us short instructional videos? Anybody want to get to work on that project?

Meanwhile, what do you think this bird is?

A request: If you know what the bird is, please explain to a hypothetical new, keen, smart birder from Tennessee, Ontario, or South Korea why she ought to believe you.

Please note: This video is used with permission of the videographer. Full credit will appear in the published photo quiz answer and analysis in the May/June 2013 Birding. Full credit will also appear right here in a few days—after we’ve had a bit of a chance to work out the ID together. 


The following two tabs change content below.
Ted Floyd

Ted Floyd

Editor, Birding magazine at American Birding Association
Ted Floyd is the Editor of Birding magazine, and he is broadly involved in other programs and initiatives of the ABA. He is the author of more than 100 magazine and journal articles, and has written four recent books, including an ABA title, the ABA Guide to Birds of Colorado. Floyd is a frequent speaker at birding festivals and state ornithological society meetings, and he has served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations. Mainly, he listens to birds at night.
Ted Floyd

Latest posts by Ted Floyd (see all)

American Birding Podcast
Birders know well that the healthiest, most dynamic choruses contain many different voices. The birding community encompasses a wide variety of interests, talents, and convictions. All are welcome.
If you like birding, we want to hear from you.
Read More »




ABA's FREE Birder's Guide

via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Meet Adam Dhalla, 2018 ABA Young Birder of the Year March 27, 2018 5:42
    Meet 12-year-old Adam Dhalla from Coquitlam, British Columbia, one of the 2018 Young Birders of the Year! Want to learn more about how you could be the next Young Birder of the Year? Registration is open for the 2019 contest now! ——– Q: Were you a birder before you started the ABA Young […]
  • Open Mic: Birding Mentors Inspiring Young Minds March 6, 2018 6:42
    Texas young birder Sebastian Casarez talks about the importance of mentors to young birders. […]
  • Announcing the 2018 ABA Young Birders of the Year! February 16, 2018 3:07
    We are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2018 ABA Young Birder of the Year Contest! Congratulations to Teodelina Martelli and Adam Dhalla, as well all of this year's participants! […]

Follow ABA on Twitter