Monday, October 22, 2012
Solution by Tony Leukering
Ah, a pile of birds to sort through looking for different species. In the field, this flock might well be here and gone, allowing us little leisure at picking out any oddballs. But in this venue, we have a week to sort through the flock. But first, what is the primary component of the flock?
Near the bottom of the flock, we can see the top side of one bird with its wings fully extended. That bird has the brown head and back, black mask, gray wings, and yellow tail tip of a Cedar Waxwing. Quick perusal of the flock finds that there are no demonstrably larger birds, nor obviously grayer birds, thus there seem to be no Bohemian Waxwings here. All of the birds that are bullets (wings folded) have the same shape: angled head, deep belly, and medium-length tail. Finches have larger and rounder heads and most have shorter tails. Pipits have more-streamlined bodies. Bobolinks have more-pointed wingtips. In fact, no bird present strongly exhibits any feature that might suggest some other species. I took this picture of a flock of Cedar Waxwings at Cape May Point S. P., Cape May Co., NJ, on 2 October 2011.
Two respondents submitted answers with the species name as a plural. I have written previously that species names are not plural and should not be presented as plural. Though some might consider this simply semantics, there is a difference between answers that identify the birds and those that present what species is/are present. Despite the fact that there are 30 birds in the picture, there is only one species represented. I let those two responses slide and considered them correct, but please read the rules.
Incorrect species provided as answers:
Red Crossbill - 1
Congratulations to the 19 of 20 getting the quiz correct:
Answer: Cedar Waxwing