This And That

The point of this page is to ask a question I have, and request help answering it. Mostly, I see this page serving as a page dedicated to Bird Species Identification assistance. I’m not sure – it may morph into a request for review of a book chapter at some point in the future.

Once a question has been sufficiently answered, I will remove the topic in order to make this a quick-stop page for assistance. THANK YOU in advance for your assistance!


Unknown Duck (SOLVED- Hooded Merganser hens)

Thanks to the folks-in-the-know who can ID a bird even when it doesn’t look like the nice photos in the guides, I believe these three visitors were Hooded Merganser. Of course, if you use a guide like I do, the birds are expressing their “hood” in all its glory. But, the birds in my photos only slightly appeared to have a few feathers on the back of their necks. The info I received was that these are probably all hens (females.) And, once I looked up images of this species, I saw a few pictures that almost looked like the birds in my photos regarding the “hood” and I could compare the beaks and the body shape and agree with the conclusion of many (but not all) of the great people who got back to me with their suggestions.

Because of the large number of responses that I got, I’m going to leave this up for a day, in case other people want to see the photos.

I encountered three ducks on the pond on 5/26/21. I didn’t get close enough for decent photos, but there’s enough detail for me to be able to say:

  • Brown in color (solid, rather than dappled like many females)
  • Long bill (lighter color)
  • Bird sits low in water
  • Trim / accent feathers on the back of the head/neck – like a Mullet hairdo

Surprisingly, I can’t find a bird that looks like this in the on-line guides. Perhaps they are a domestic species-mix? Perhaps, they are not even ducks – which is the term I’m using to try to ID them. Please let me know if you can identify this species.

Kentucky Warbler – audio

I’m very slowly developing the skill to recognize bird songs. I am amazed by the folks who can pull out one song in a myriad of other vocalizations and other possible background noise like the sound of running water, wind, insects or a choir of frogs! I have relied on the eBird app that helps to identify the species associated with a song. However, I’ve found that it’s important to isolate a specific sound to get the best results. When I select too much info, the app often is unable to provide a “Almost Certain” result, which is about the only level I am currently willing to use to make a final decision – since I cannot offer much more than the app provides.

I reviewed the following audio file and I’m fairly confident that there’s a White-eyed Vireo and a Tufted Titmouse, but the eBird app also hits on Kentucky Warbler when I isolate some segments, and it reports a “Likely” result. My question to those folks in the know; do you hear a Kentucky Warbler? Please use the Comments section below, or send me an email. Thanks!

Summer Tanager – audio

The next audio file hits on Wood Thrush, but also comes back with Summer Tanager. Again, to the bird vocalization gurus: do you hear a Summer Tanager?

Flycatcher Sp?

This little bird perched on a small shrub/tree near the pond, which makes me think it’s a Flycatcher. However, my single summer of education last year (my first as a backyard birder) hasn’t seemed to carried over this Spring. Now that some of the flycatcher species are arriving back, I’m finding myself unsure. My best guess is Willow Flycatcher. Filmed 5/19/21 What do you think?

Same Flycatcher?

This bird was also filmed 5/19/21 in the same general area as the bird directly above, only lower to the ground. To my untrained eyes, it looks like it may be the same species, but the head shape seems different, maybe? But, again, there’s part of me that thinks they may still be the same species and I’m over-analyzing it.

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