Dead Bird Quiz Answers

13 07 2016

Thank you to Wouter and sjcourchesne (aka our very own Seanet Project Coordinator!) for their answers suggesting Birds A & B are both Herring Gulls. As a couple veteran Dead Bird Quiz “experts”, I proceeded to pick up my copy of the Field Guide to Beached Birds of the Southeastern United States ( https://seanetters.wordpress.com/shop/beached-bird-guides/) and opened to the section on gull identification (pages 91-103) to cross-examine their answers.

Bird A:WB_13a  5-10-16(2)

Herring Gull (Juvenile)

Based on the wind chord alone (measured as 45 cm, please excuse my error in the original blog in which I stated the wind chord to be 45 mm!) , this bird falls in the range of Herring Gull and outside the reported wind chord ranges for other likely candidates ( e.g. Laughing Gull, Bonaparte’s Gull and Ring-Billed Gull).  As for Adult or juvenile, the black band on the tail feathers is indicative of a juvenile ( or possibly a sub-adult, but the bird has been scavenged and we only have a ventral view). Note: Adults have all white tail rectrices.

Bird B:unknown2

Herring Gull (Sub-Adult)

Based on the wind chord alone (measured as 43 cm, once again-please excuse my error in the original blog in which I stated the wind chord to be 43 mm!), this bird falls in the range of Herring Gull and outside the reported wind chord ranges for other likely candidates ( e.g. Laughing Gull, Bonaparte’s Gull and Ring-Billed Gull).  This dorsal view shows a grayish back coloration, some brown speckling and darker bill (Adults have yellow bills).  This plumage is indicative of a sub-adult (likely aged 2-3 years).

I think this quote sums it up nicely “And, yet, if you know gulls, you know that gulls in summer–bleached, battered, and blasted by sun and surf–are perhaps the greatest ID challenge for American birders” by Ted Floyd in his aba blog entitled “The Most Evil Photo Quiz Ever” at http://blog.aba.org/author/ted-floyd

Well, there you have it. I too agree with Wouter and sjcourchesne that Birds A & B are Herring Gulls!  Thanks to all that read and pondered this Dead Bird Quiz. Until our next Dead Bird Quiz……….

 

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