American Birding Podcast



Birding Photo Quiz: April 2019

I have two pet peeves.

The first is standing in line with nothing to do. If I’m waiting for a flight to board, I absolutely have to be doing something. Give me a newspaper or a math problem or a carpet to sweep or a diaper to change—something, anything, or I’ll explode from the boredom of simply standing there.

The second is when birders just say “female Red-wing” or “Gray-cheek flight call” or “first-cycle Herring.” Drives me insane. Those things are not at all obvious to the vast majority of humans—including most birders. It’s snotty and pretentious to blurt out the answer without saying why. And there’s something else: It gets me to questioning whether the blurter knows what they’re talking about. Why is it a female Red-wing, as opposed to a sparrow? Why is it the queee-ah! of a Gray-cheeked Thrush, rather than the queee-ar! of a Red-headed Woodpecker? And what the heck is meant by first-cycle, anyhow? (And, while we’re at it, what the heck is meant by Herring Gull?)

Other than that, I’m the chillest dude you’ll ever meet.

Okay, onto this installment of the Birding “Featured Photo,” this one appearing in the April 2019 issue of Birding. Bay Area birder Carla Din found this interesting bird on the December 27, 2018, San Francisco Christmas Bird Count, and promptly brought it to our attention. Two questions: (1) What is it? And (2) You know what’s coming next? Why?

Photo by © Carla Din