Sunday, September 14, 2008

Morbid Bird Quiz Answer

It took a mere 27 minutes after I posted the quiz for N8 of The Drinking Bird fame to find the post and nail the correct answer. The white feather tips were enough for his tentatively positive, or maybe a positively tentative, identification. Then again it was probably a positively positive ID, what other bird could this be?

Original quiz bird photo

I thought this might be a bit tougher than it was for two reasons: difficulty in orienting some parts of the bird, and the fact that it was overcast yielded little color in the photo, just shades of gray and white. Northern Mockingbird, my only reasonable alternate thought, is a gray and white bird common in the Southern Tier of NY. It fits the color scheme, but the pattern on the visible feathers is wrong. If those white-tipped feathers are from the tail you would expect pure gray feathers or pure white (immature mockingbirds may have some irregularly patterned or spotted feathers, which these clearly aren't. And if these were wing feathers we'd expect to find the white near the base of the feathers, not the tips.

Check out this mockingbird in flight to clearly see those patterns.

In a nutshell, mockingbirds don't have white-tipped wings or tails, but Blue Jays do.

Here's a second shot, different angle.


The tail, seen just below and parallel to the wire, shows the black-banded blue tail with white tips. Nicely played, N8!

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1 comment:

N8 said...

Hmmm, maybe I should have waited just a bit. The wife was gone this weekend so I was lurking, just waiting to pounce on something like this out of boredom. : )

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