Dead Bird Quiz answers

7 01 2013

I love doing Dead Bird Quizzes! I learn something new every time. Bird A had been nagging at me. When I see a dark wing with white tipped secondaries, I generally think alcid, and I’m generally right. I was initially inclined to call Bird A a murre, but something about it just didn’t feel right. For one, the underwing was grayer than is typical for a murre, and for two, the overall shape of the wing didn’t seem pointy enough for me. But I was at a loss as to what else this bird might be.

Bird A: upper wing.

Bird A: upper wing.

American Coot wing (credit: Slater Museum, University of Puget Sound).

American Coot wing (credit: Slater Museum, University of Puget Sound).

Then, in swoops Wouter, super-awesome dead bird identifier, with what appears to be the answer: American Coot! This fits very well with the rounded profile of the primary feathers (explaining the lack of murre like shape to the wing). If you take a look at this murre wing on the Slater Museum’s website, you’ll see what I’m saying.

I am persuaded, and completely delighted to have Wouter helping us out!

Bird B, I am pleased to say, I figured out all on my own, and Wouter’s assessment aligns with mine. This bird has a very long humerus, meaning it’s a large species. Also of particular note, the “wishbone” or furcula of this ex-bird is firmly fused to the top of the squarish sternum. This fusion between sternum and furcula is common to pouchbills like gannets and pelicans. Given the overall shape of the sternum, the size of the wing, and the geographic location where this was found (Florida), both Wouter and I think this is a Brown Pelican.

Bird B: See the wishbone on the right fused to the sternum?

Bird B: See the wishbone on the right fused to the sternum?

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One response

8 01 2013
Wouter van Gestel

You’re welcome, keep them coming and I’ll do my best to ID them.

Wouter

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