American Birding Podcast



Featured Photo, a.k.a. New Photo Quiz, January-February 2014 Birding

First things first. The quiz. Here goes:

14-1-17-01 [geese] LO-REZ

If you just want to play the quiz, that’s great. Skip the part below, and scroll straight down to the comments.



And now the rest of the story…

…as explained on p. 66 of the January/February 2014 issue of Birding:


The king is dead! Long live the king!

One of the most enduring and endearing offerings in Birding magazine has been the photo quiz. Why? What’s the allure? On the one hand, the photo quiz is, well, a quiz. Trivia. A challenge. Birders love facts and challenges. On the other hand, the photo quiz is educational. In analyzing the quiz images ourselves and then reading the quizmaster’s official answers, we learn about bird identification. Birders love learning about bird ID.

In the past, the photo quiz was, for most ABA members, a game of solitaire. A reader would work out the identification (or not), then wait two months for the definitive answer to appear in Birding. The internet’s changed that. Now we put the quiz birds online, and readers work out the ID together. The process is fun, challenging, and educational. The online photo quizzes are consistently among the most frequently viewed and most frequently commented on features at our website. But there’s a sense in which we’ve been a victim of our success: For many readers, the quiz has been “solved” long before the next issue goes to press.

So we’re going to tweak the venerable photo quiz just a bit. Here’s the deal: We’ll still post the images at our website, we’ll still work the answers out together online, we’ll still give you the opportunity to quiz yourself in the magazine, but (there’s always a “but”…) you won’t have to wait two months for the answer in print. Instead, Tom Johnson’s analysis of the image will appear in the same issue in which the quiz appears—but on a different page.

One other change. We’re going to focus on one photo in particular, which we’re going to call the “Featured Photo.” Which brings us to the January/February 2014 Featured Photo. Two geese would seem to be involved. What are they? As usual, you can go online for discussion and speculation: For this installment only, you’ll have to wait until next issue for Johnson’s analysis and official answer. Then, starting with the March/April 2014 Featured Photo, the process will be just as we have outlined it above.

In the meantime, let’s have some fun with these geese—especially that somewhat odd-looking one at left…