September 2021 Photo Quiz

Tony Leukering
Fairborn, OH

A few sparrowy things comprise this month’s quiz, so break out your reading glasses, as we may need to delve into minutiae. I can hear the cheers, now! Everyone loves sparrowy things, enough so that I’m sure that many of us go out to hunt down these brown, striped or unstriped species that are so easy to identify. You know, just to keep one’s eye in.

Unfortunately, while we can readily see the striped upperparts plumage, the underparts are hidden on all three birds. Ah, did you miss that third one? When dealing with brown, sparrowy things in a brown field of view, it’s often important to look around carefully, as the “interesting” bird in the flock might be mostly hidden.

Perhaps the feature that stands out most in the quiz photo is the middle bird’s patch of rufous somewhere near the wing-body interface; it certainly catches my eye. As most know, Vesper Sparrow has a rufous wing patch. Could this month’s quiz be just that easy?

What species is represented here?

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.