February 2024 Photo Quiz

Tony Leukering
Dodge City, KS

Those birding in wooded and forested areas encounter views like this far too often: A bird overhead straining one’s balance ability and with the bird extensively hidden by vegetation. This is a situation in which experience and knowledge help tremendously, as they can help slap a correct name on many a bird of which the typical, well-known field marks are hidden. The take-home message? Learn much more about birds than one or two key field marks.

If anyone is having difficulty determining which way the quiz bird is facing, note the legs and how they are positioned. To identify the bird, the bird’s perch location and details of foot structure rule out all ABA-Area bird orders other than Passeriformes. Another clue: Leg color rules out a lot of options. A minority, yes, but still a lot. A final clue: The length of foot visible – and that IS foot, not any other part of the leg – rules out swallows, which are very short-legged… er… short-footed.

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.