Monday, November 22, 2010
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Answer by Tony Leukering
Ah, well. I was hoping for a respondent's answer that would treat the ID of this week's quiz bird and did not get one, which is actually a rare thing. I guess that I'll have to do it all by myself!
As all respondents noted, this week's subject is a raptor. With its eye color (dark), we can quickly rule out many juvenile buteos, all accipiters, older Bald Eagles, many kites, and older female and most male harriers. Closer scrutiny of the eye region should result in noticing the ill-defined blackish bar running vertically below the eye, a virtually-certain indicator of a falcon. An ID of a falcon would also agree with the apparently narrow and tapered wingtip. The sheer darkness of the bird should narrow our choices to Merlin, Gyrfalcon, and Peregrine Falcon, where the combination of distinct buffy superciliary and indistinct vertical bar below the eye should leave us only the first choice.
I took this picture of a columbarius (Taiga) Merlin at the hawkwatch platform at Cape May Point SP, Cape May Co., NJ, on 20 September 2010. Both Prairie (richardsoni) and Black (suckleyi) Merlins are ruled out by that buffy super.
Incorrect species provided as answers:
Rough-legged Hawk - 1
Congratulations to the 14 of 15 getting the quiz correct: