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Birding Photo Quiz: December 2018

“BVD,” we birders like to say, when confronted with views such as these. No, we’re not talking about the brand of men’s underwear. “BVD,” to the birder, stands for “better view desired.”

Is that an aesthetic judgment? We’d rather see a bird’s face than butt? Let’s not go there. Or is it a pragmatic assessment?—an admission that views like these ones are some combination of challenging, difficult, and useless.

It can take some getting used to, but views from beneath can be surprisingly diagnostic. In the photo below, we see color and pattern and shape, the touchstones of field identification. And we’ll tell you that this photo is from eastern Massachusetts in late September. Thus, Townsend’s Warbler and Olive not-a-Warbler presumably are not in the running.

December 2018 Birding Featured Photo. Quiz Bird A. Eastern Massachusetts, late September. Photo by © Haynes Miller.

 

 

Want more? This next one is the classic up-the-undertail American wood-warbler. One field mark in particular just screams out at us… It was in the same flock as the bird we saw a moment ago, so, again, we’re in eastern Massachusetts in late September.

December 2018 Birding Featured Photo. Quiz Bird B. Eastern Massachusetts, late September. Photo by © Haynes Miller.

 

 

How ’bout another? We’re still in eastern Massachusetts in late September. The warblers are really high up in the trees today! Anyhow, if we restrict our analysis to color and pattern, we might not get very far with this one. But if we go for structure, the answer leaps out at us!

December 2018 Birding Featured Photo. Quiz Bird C. Eastern Massachusetts, late September. Photo by © Haynes Miller.

 

In the December 2018 Birding, winging its way to ABA member mailboxes right now, bird ID guru Patrick Maurice works us through the answers. That’s cool, but there’s also no reason we can’t try to figure these out among ourselves. Use the “Leave a comment” field below, please, and let’s see what we can do with these diagnostic photos of beautiful birds. BVD?—bah!

 

 

 

 

 

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