Rockjumper Tours

aba events

Photo Quiz: August 2016 Birding

Photo by © Tara Tanaka.

Photo by © Tara Tanaka.

This photo, by itself, isn’t all that hard. We’ll even tell you what it is: It’s an Eastern Phoebe. But there’s a hitch. Of course. The quiz question isn’t: What’s this bird? Instead: What bird is the Eastern Phoebe frequently mistaken for, especially in winter?

Tony Leukering, bird ID expert and general ponderer of how birders think, invites us in the August 2016 Birding to consider “The Most Underused ID Feature” of all: time of year. If you know when flycatchers show up in the ABA Area, you would never, ever, confuse a winter Eastern Phoebe with, well, anything. That’s because, in many places where phoebes winter, like North Carolina, they’re the only birds that look like phoebes. Phoebe lookalikes–Eastern Wood-Pewee, Eastern Kingbird, Traill’s Flycatcher, etc.–simply aren’t around in winter.

But not everybody knows that. And that’s Leukering point. The phoebe situation is fairly straightforward. But other cases are not. In his commentary in the August issue, Leukering reviews for us various “confusing” IDs that really aren’t confusing at all–if you just look at a calendar. These include winter Chipping Sparrows (try American Tree Sparrow), early Orange-crowned Warblers (also known as Tennessee Warbler), and late juvenile Short-billed Dowitchers (probably Long-billed). And others.

For ABA BlogNeedless to say, Leukering’s commendably short and readable commentary doesn’t touch on every instance in which time of year is valuable to the ID process. So here’s our question: What are examples from your own neck of the woods where simply paying attention to the calendar can clear up what might otherwise be a gnarly ID problem?

Facebooktwitter
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 »

Categories

Authors

Archives

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.

  • Open Mic: How to talk about climate change as a young birder June 4, 2018 11:37
    One of the challenges in talking about climate change is the disconnect that people feel when hearing about things like sea level rise and their daily lives. Birders, young and old, can play a major role in bridging this gap. […]
  • Meet Teodelina Martelli, 2018 ABA Young Birder of the Year May 26, 2018 2:27
    Meet Teodelina Martelli, a 17-year-old homeschooled birder living in Thousand Oaks, California and one of the 2018 ABA Young Birders of the Year. […]
  • 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 […]

Follow ABA on Twitter