Monday, February 2, 2009

Quiz #285 (2009-1-06) Answer

Click the picture for a larger view.

Answer by Tony Leukering

While walking through the kitchen heading for the fridge for a snack, you glance out the window at the feeder and see seven birds on the niger feeder. Ah, siskins. It's been a nice Pine Siskin year in many places in the U.S. this winter, but you've been feeding 100s of them for two months and gotten a little jaded. So, you don't notice that the middle bird on the left side of the feeder is a wee bit different. It seems to have some thin white streaking on the rear crown, some more down the middle of the back, no yellow fringing on the remiges, and a much more deeply notched tail than most siskins show.

For those with more experience looking through such scenes, the overall frostier appearance of that bird may well have been enough to cause a pause in the walk to the fridge and a reach for the spare binocular that lives on the window sill. Those folks would then have been treated to a slightly different scene in the next second or two, one depicted in the picture of the same seven birds below.

Click the picture for a larger view.

While Pine Siskins can nearly lack yellow remex fringing, or that fringing can be pale enough to not be yellow, even the drabbest sport at least some. In this regard, one should note that the fringing on the inner primaries reaches nearly to or to the greater coverts and these fringes are often the most obvious (note those on the bottom right bird). Common Redpolls also usually sport remex fringing, but the color is white, though often the fringing is limited to a fairly short but wide bar on the secondaries, as in the hidden-in-the-open mystery bird here (just beyond the tips of the longest two tertials; all three of the tertials are tipped white, too; see picture labels).

I purposefully took this quiz picture for this venue at the famed Fawn Brook Inn, in Allenspark, Boulder Co., CO, 27 January 2005. I sat on this one for years waiting for all the CO folks that saw that bird to forget about it. That plan, apparently, worked well, as only four CO birders got the quiz correct.

I received no answers this time that included any incorrect species, but most of the answers were of of Pine Siskin only. One of those would have been precluded from being correct for the competition, as it had no capitals (please, read the rules).

Tallies of incorrect species provided in answers:

The 11 of 48 providing the correct answer:
Su Snyder
Andy Dettling
Nick Komar
Tyler Bell
Jonathan Lautenbach
Chuck Carlson
Peter Wilkinson
Aaron Brees
Mark Gabriel
Marcel Such
Joel Such

Answer: Common Redpoll, Pine Siskin