Eating Crow

Certain types of birds are extremely difficult for me to identify-shorebirds (sandpipers, stilts, plovers,) sparrows, and flycatchers in particular.  There are several things you can do to try to pinpoint your ID.  Range maps are helpful, but birds often fly out of their expected range or migration path.  I’ve been working on learning their calls and songs, but some of them have very sophisticated and varied vocalizations with little differentiation between species.  Still, it is a helpful skill to develop.  Size, shape, wing shape and patterns, bill shape and color, crown colors and patterns, tail length and color (and sometime how they shake their tailfeathers,) leg length and color, number of toes that face forward and backward, eyebrows, whiskers, eye color, etc, all can be used to nail down a species.  I stink at it and misidentify birds frequently.  I sometimes catch the error before I post, but this time I didn’t.

In two posts over the last few weeks I identified a bird as a Great Crested Flycatcher.  Today, with the help of eBird, I was able to correctly identify it correctly as an Ash-throated Flycatcher.  The Ash-throated Flycatcher has a paler yellow belly, a whiter throat, and less red in the tail than the Great Crested Flycatcher.

So anyway, here’s a photo I took this morning of the Ash-throated Flycatcher.ash-throated-flycatcher-1280x854

While pondering the subtle differences between closely related flycatchers, I stumbled across this Northern Cardinal poppa feeding junior.

Other birds that I was able to get shots of this morning:

a Mississippi Kitemississippi-kite-27-1280x992

an Orchard Oriole,orchard-oriole-23-1280x736

and a Bullock’s Oriole in a pair of cheap sunglasses.  I never even knew we had orioles around here.  Now I see them everywhere.bullocks-oriole-24-1280x794

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