December 2022 Photo Quiz

Tony Leukering
Dodge City, KS

While some might immediately recognize the species represented here, others may have to work out the ID. That difference is often the primary one between skilled, experienced birders and others. Research on how skilled practitioners of birding has shown that such use a different portion of their brains to identify individuals of species they know well than do birders that do not know the species well or at all. The first use a portion of the brain that recognizes… stuff, things, birds, whereas the others need to use the slower, more-taxing problem-solving portions of the brain.

The quick hit of features that include upperparts coloration; tail length and coloration; those thin, white wing bars, and the odd bits of brownish color on the flanks probably allow many to slap their mental ID buzzer and call out…

What species is represented here?

Photos and answers are supplied by Tony Leukering, a field ornithologist based in southeast Dodge City, KS, with strong interests in bird migration, distribution, and identification. He has worked for five different bird observatories from coast to coast and considers himself particularly adept at taking quiz photos (that is, bad pictures!). Leukering is a member of the Colorado Bird Records Committee and had been a reviewer for eBird since its inception. He is also interested in most everything else that flies, particularly moths and odonates.