Monday, December 20, 2010

Quiz #379 (2010-4-12) Solution

Click on picture(s) for a larger view.

Answer by Tony Leukering

The focal bird of this week's quiz has whitish underparts, gray crown, dark bill, a longish tail with extensive white on the outermost pair of rectrices, and -- if one enlarges the picture and looks closely -- a yellowish eye. This suite of characters is found on very few ABA-area birds, with that last feature ruling out all options but one that would have been included in the solution set had the bird's eye been dark. Those ruled out by that eye color include a couple of gnatcatchers, a wagtail or two, and Townsend's Solitaire. The only ABA-area species exhibiting all of those features is Northern Mockingbird, particularly when one throws in size (one can use the Bayberry leaves for that size assessment).

So, I didn't fool many this week. Some readers may be wondering about what I write, but 15 of the 18 respondents noted that there was a second bird in the picture. That bird sports a yellow-based black bill, white underparts, brown upperparts, and extensive rufous in the primaries. Those features lead us, as above, to only one species: Yellow-billed Cuckoo.

As this quiz was the last of the 4th quarter's competition, there is an annual Colorado Field Ornithologists' membership (which includes receiving CFO's journal, Colorado Birds) to disburse. This quarter, two respondents got 10 of 12 quizzes correct, Tyler Bell and Chisun Kwong. The first tie-breaker is the number of bonus points earned in the quarter (bonus points are awarded primarily in multi-species quizzes, though I occasionally hand out the odd point for other reasons). Tyler's 8 topped Chishun's 4, so Tyler gets the CFO membership! Congratulations to Tyler, who is probably the single person that has responded to the most Mr. Bill Mystery Quizzes during my tenure as Mr. Bill; he's been playing a long time and seemingly knows all of my tricks!

As this quiz was also the last of the 2010 competition year, free registration to a CFO convention also needs awarding. As above, two respondents tied, here with 42 of 51 quizzes correct, Al Guarente and Joel Such. The first tie-breaker in this case is the number of incorrect answers, with the lower number winning out. Joel beat Al by one fewer incorrect answer, so he will be going to the 2011 Grand Junction convention! Congrats, Joel!

I want to take this opportunity to thank the 89 folks that responded to the Mr. Bill Mystery Quiz at least once in 2010; they are what keeps me in the Mr. Bill job. However, that total is the lowest during my tenure and the CFO Board and I will be spending some time this year changing things up a bit in hopes of tempting higher response rates. Stay tuned!

Incorrect species provided as answers:
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 1

Congratulations to the 15 of 18 getting the quiz correct:
Robert McNab
Marcel Such
Tyler Bell
Al Guarente
Hope Batcheller
Ben Coulter
Joseph Brown
Joel Such
Christian Nunes
Tucker Lutter
George cresswell
Chishun Kwong
Bryan Guarente
Gary Koehn
Pam Myers

Answer: Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Northern Mockingbird