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Time For a Quiz!

September 27, 2012

By Ted Keyel

Quizzes can be challenging. You lose out on so much that can help with identification by just looking at one quick capture in time. There are many important factors to keep in consideration, such as lighting, posture, and behavior. It can be trickier still when images have been deliberately changed in such a way to create the quiz. However, all that being said, quizzes can still be extremely useful. The goal of this set of quiz photos is to be a good learning experience.  Hopefully it will make you look at these birds a little more closely and see something that you may not have noticed before.

There are many kinds of photo quizzes. Some people use very blurry pictures of easy birds, others take clear shots of cryptic species.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods. We have tried to combine decent shots with some lower-quality shots. Realistically, sometimes we get good views of birds from our observation deck, and often we do not.  In addition, there are times that with quick and/or poor views, what may be an easy-to-identify bird becomes much harder. One final note to make is that all of these pictures have been taken this fall at Curry Hammock State Park, where the Florida Keys Hawkwatch takes place. So, with all that in mind, here are the pictures.

FKH Sep Quiz 01. This picture has only been cropped.

FKH Sep Quiz 02. The photo was cropped, but colors were not altered.

FKH Sep Quiz 03. In addition to being cropped, this image was turned into a silhouette.

FKH Sep Quiz 04. This picture has only been cropped.

FKH Sep Quiz 05.

FKH Sep Quiz 06. In addition to being cropped, this image was turned into a silhouette.

If you think you can identify any of the birds in these photos, please post your answers. Don’t forget to explain why you think your identification is correct. The answers will be posted soon.

All photos by Ted Keyel. Top graphic and editorial contributions by Rafael Galvez.


15 Comments leave one →
  1. Jeff Bouton permalink
    September 27, 2012 10:01 pm

    OK – just breezed past all and am gutting with my immediate gut reaction on all. I ain’t swearing to nothing! 🙂

    1) reminded me of an adult Cooper’s Hawk – long tail and shorter wings so clearly accipiter, we’re in the keys so only have to consider SS vs. Coop, and the bull headed and slightly spatulate rounded tail work for the latter.

    2) pinkish legs & apparent 2 toned bill make me say “Great White Heron”

    3) small dark falcon comparatively short tail wide-based angular wings… Merlin

    4) large winged flycatcher w/ pale yellowish wing linings & dark tail reminds me of an immi Gray Kingbird

    5) slim winged, falconesque profile longish skinny looking tail may have a reddish hue, why not American Kestrel?…

    6) and finally long wings… pointed, slightly splayed out tail, and diagnostic short 10th primary, yep… going Mississippi Kite.

  2. halobaena permalink
    September 27, 2012 10:20 pm

    1: Cooper’s Hawk
    2: Great Blue (White) Heron
    3: Merlin
    4: Ash-throated Flycatcher
    5: American Kestrel
    6. Mississippi Kite

  3. Michelle Davis permalink
    September 27, 2012 10:43 pm

    OK, I’ll give it a try…

    1.Cooper’s hawk.rounded tail, longer ‘arm’ part of wing, bulkier than sharpie. Not lean/long-limbed enough to be a northern harrier.

    2. Great white heron. heavier build and lighter legs than great egret.

    3. Merlin. Just ‘cauze. Looks ‘bull-headed’ somehow.

    4. Western kingbird. white outer sides to dark tail.

    5. Kestrel. Not sure why; bird looks like a speck to me. Merlin second guess.

    6. Northern harrier. shape of primaries plus long wings.

  4. Peter permalink
    September 27, 2012 11:35 pm

    Here are my guesses:

    1. Cooper’s Hawk: long tail, head projecting beyond wing tips
    2. Great White Heron: for Mom and because we never get to see Great Whites. Plus it just doesn’t look like a great egret and it’s too big for snowy egret or little blue heron. Reddish doesn’t seem like a good fit to me either, though I’d have to check Sibley’s to tell you why (or that I’m wrong;)
    3. Kestrel: Looks like a small falcon to me from pointed wings and long tail, but it could just as easily end up a merlin or something else. I’ll be somewhat embarrassed if it’s a passerine or something like that.
    4. Western Kingbird: yellow and dark on underwings suggests kingbird, western most likely. I wouldn’t have looked at the white outer sides of the tail to split it out from couch’s/cassins/tropical/evil, so hopefully I just learned something
    5. Mississippi Kite: long wings and long fan-shaped tail
    6. Harrier: wings in dihedral, long wings long tail

  5. Orion Weldon permalink
    September 28, 2012 12:13 am

    Hey Michelle!!
    I actually have come around to agree with your answers. I questioned #3 and #5 on whether they were peregrine and mississippi Kite, respectively.

  6. Jeff Bouton permalink
    September 28, 2012 8:14 am

    Michelle, #4 is the one I’m most worried about. Not sure any of us have it right, but since WEKI has entirely white outers (possibly even 5&6), and we’re viewing the tail from below you can see the entire outer rectrix here and it is almost wholly dark with just a barely noticeable light edge. Plus belly seems less yellow than coverts. I’m sticking with my first guess, but wonder about a real close image of an EAPH as well?!?… Tough one, makes it fun! 🙂

    • Colleen permalink
      September 28, 2012 1:04 pm

      Here goes nothing…
      1. Coopers Hawk — long tail, body shape
      2. Great White Heron — coloring and common in Keys
      3. Sharpie — long tail, shorter wing than 1
      4. Gray Kingbird — shot in the dark and already seen in area
      5. Peregrine — falcon shaped wings
      6. Harrier —

  7. September 28, 2012 12:49 pm

    Here goes nothing…
    1. Coopers Hawk — body shape and longer tail
    2. Great White Heron — coloring and common in Keys
    3. Sharpie — Similar to Coopers with smaller body
    4. Gray Kingbird — shot in the dark since already seen in the area
    5. Peregrine — falcon shapred wings
    6. Harrier — long wings and tail

  8. Michelle Davis permalink
    September 28, 2012 4:29 pm

    Hi Jeff,
    I’m pretty sure the WEKI has only the outermost edge of the outermost rect white, rather than several feathers. That said, GRKI is a good guess, too, and you might be right. Tail feathers aren’t that black and the yellow is subdued, and looks to be absent on the belly. It’s a great quiz photo! Pointy kingbird wings are disguised by the bending of the primaries in the downstroke.

    I totally forgot about MIKI (if i can only keep that ’80’s brainworm away…..oh no…here it comes…HEY MIKI!!! sorry) when I was looking at these, but I’m going to stick with kestrel for 5 and harrier for 6. Sometimes immediate gut reaction is the best!

    Keep these quizzes coming, Rafael; they’re great fun!

  9. Mark permalink
    September 28, 2012 9:10 pm

    1. Coop 2. Big White Bird 3. Merlin 4. Prey Species 5. Harrier 6. Mississippi Kite

  10. Candace permalink
    September 29, 2012 1:21 pm

    I would echo Mark’s guesses. Anything not a raptor is essentially prey… although the big white bird is big, so can remain a big white bird.

  11. Ted Keyel permalink
    September 29, 2012 6:12 pm

    Thanks for all of the replies! Jeff rocked the quiz, getting all six species correct! I’ll post a much more detailed explanation blog in a day or two. So, once again, the correct answers are:

    1: Cooper’s Hawk
    2: Great White Heron
    3: Merlin
    4: Gray Kingbird
    5: American Kestrel
    6: Mississippi Kite

    • Jeff Bouton permalink
      September 30, 2012 1:10 pm

      Woohoo!… Do I win a beer?!?….

      • Ted Keyel permalink
        September 30, 2012 8:57 pm

        Sure, come on down to collect.


  1. Quiz Blog Answers « Florida Keys Hawkwatch

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