Birding Photo Quiz: April 2017

Think of a flock of birds in flight: ducks over a marsh, vultures at a kill, gulls coming off a landfill. For sure, we often see ducks, vultures, and gulls in flight, and, sooner or later, we become adept at ID’ing those birds on the wing.

Here’s another common sight: blackbirds flying around feedlots, pastures, and wetlands. Across much of the ABA Area, and throughout much of the year, you can see roosts of hundreds, thousands, and, exceptionally, millions of blackbirds. When they put into flight, the spectacle is equal parts stirring and grotesque.

But how do we ID blackbirds in flight? And a more foundational question: Do we even make the attempt? Those are the questions posed by Tom Johnson in his Featured Photo in the April 2017 Birding, arriving in ABA members’ mailboxes right now. Take a look at these photos, and see what you think. As always, please tell us how you arrived at your conjecture, definitive solution, or wild-horse guess.



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Ted Floyd

Ted Floyd

Editor, Birding magazine at American Birding Association
Ted Floyd is the longtime Editor of Birding magazine, and he is broadly involved in other programs and initiatives with the ABA. Ted has written 200+ magazine articles and 5 books, including How to Know the Birds (National Geographic, 2019). He is a frequent speaker at birding festivals and has served on several nonprofit boards. Join Ted at The ABA Blog for his semimonthly spot, “How to Know the Birds,” celebrating common birds and the uncommonly interesting things they do.