May 2022 Photo Quiz

Tony Leukering
Fairborn, OH

Not a very good photo this month. Right? While I generally try to have reasonably good photos with the quiz subject in reasonably good focus, birding is not really like that. We do not see most individual birds well, and, at least for those with “good ears,” most birds that we detect are not seen at all. That is particularly true in heavily wooded or… shrubbed (may I use that?) situations. While we can see this month’s quiz-photo subject – and what would a photo quiz be without a visual subject on which to be quizzed, quite a few aspects of the photo are not optimal for identification, with the primary failing being that the subject is not in focus. However, like all quizzes in this domain, the subject is certainly identifiable to species.

Relative to the vegetation in the photo between quiz participants and quiz subject, the bird seems fairly small. It is certainly dwarfed by the large lateral branch behind it. Interestingly, we can see the bird’s legs fairly well, at least well enough to see that they are black. As I have expounded upon many times in this and other venues, soft-parts coloration – eyes, bill, legs – provide many useful ID cues, and they should not be ignored. In fact, they should be studied. Of course, sometimes, those parts’ colors do not provide particularly useful ID information. Is this one of those times?

Photos and answers are supplied by Tony Leukering, a field ornithologist based in southeast Colorado, 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.