Dead Bird Quiz answers

12 06 2011

Little Egret: the Euro version of the snowy egret.

Snowy egret: decidedly western hemisphere.

Bird A, fortunately, has a very tell-tale detail still extant on its otherwise well-decomposed carcass. The bright yellow foot, clearly demarcated from a black leg marks this bird as snowy egret. Most likely. What else could it be? The odds are very low, but the Eurasian species the little egret looks almost identical and is an occasional visitor to North America. If we’re playing the odds however, we’ve got to go with snowy egret. Other possibilities to entertain don’t fit this bird exactly, but for our southern Seanetters in particular, the wood stork could present a somewhat similar “foot look.” If the entire carcass were present, it would be difficult to confuse the vulturine, bald-headed wood stork with any egret. But based on the legs alone, wood storks have dark, grayish legs with a lighter, pink to yellowish foot. Since colors fade in dead birds, a weathered carcass could trick an unsuspecting Seanetter.

The wood stork: another species with a two-tone leg/foot combo.

Bird B, is this you? (song sparrow)

Bird B is a very aggravating enigma. I do not know what this thing is. Some thoughts I’ve had on the matter: It seems to have a central black dot on the breast–maybe a song sparrow? savannah sparrow? I don’t know. It seems sparrow-ish. With my passerine i.d. skills, it could be something else entirely, like a longspur or something. Let us say, “unknown sparrow” and have done with it.

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