Monday, January 19, 2009
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Answer by Tony Leukering
Another multi-bird quiz! Sheesh!
This one's a bit different, however, as there are no gulls or ducks involved. Of course, there are shorebirds, and four of them without bills! Despite the run of multi-species quizzes, no respondents submitted answers involving multiple species. That may be because all five birds look to be the same size and of similar appearance. The one bill that we can see suggests that our quiz shorebirds are small. They also share features of wing plumage, with the right four birds all having white fringes on scapulars and/or coverts. But, even more importantly, and overlooked by those getting the quiz wrong, all five birds have black shoulders, though they're more obvious on some birds than on others. That is really all we need to ID our quiz birds as Sanderlings. A clinching feature noted by a couple of respondents is that all five birds lack hind toes, and Sanderling is the ONLY shorebird with that feature.
I took this picture of five Sanderlings at Cape May, Cape May Co., NJ, on 25 October 2008. A couple respondents also noted that the second bird from the right is banded and leg-flagged. I have not yet heard from the Bird Banding Laboratory as to when and where that bird was banded.
Tallies of incorrect answers for quiz species:
Semipalmated Sandpiper - 1
Western Sandpiper - 1
The 34 of 36 providing the correct answer: