Dead Bird Quiz answers

22 08 2012

I’m with Wouter on both these i.d.s, and since no one else weighed in on this quiz, we stand unchallenged. Bird A is a sassy little Gray Catbird, now lacking its sass. The key to the i.d. is the rusty red under tail coverts. I’ve been surprised by the number of small songbirds that turn up on SEANET beaches, but typically we see American Robins and sparrows. This is, I believe, our first and only catbird up to now.

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk: as close to the pose of a dead bird on a beach as a live bird gets!

Bird B is more of a challenge, especially since it has no face. But it’s a raptor for sure. The brown stripes on the tail and wings made me think initially of an accipiter like a Sharp-shinned or Cooper’s Hawk. But both of those tend to have broader gray and brown bands on the tail, rather than the thin brown striping on our Bird B. One useful field mark on Red-tailed is the band of whitish feathers across the shoulders and back. This is not visible on our Bird B, but that seems to be more a result of its advanced state of dishevelment rather than an absolute lack. Bird B’s measurements could be helpful too, but I am currently on vacation in Maine and rocking back in forth in withdrawal from the Bible of bird measurements: Peter Pyle’s multi-volume set. So if you have one at your fingertips and want to voice your opinion, by all means!

I will return from vacation next week, and this inexcusably sluggish posting pace will be remedied!

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