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This month we’ve got to suss what is where on this splashing object just in order to have a shot at being sure that it is a bird, much less getting the ID correct! We do have some good clues, though, and they should not only tell us what part is what, but what the bird is. Comparing the bird to various other objects in the picture, we can determine that the beast is not at all large. If it is the head, which way is it facing? The brownish mass with some blackish streaking in the upper part of the object that is supposed to be a bird may be quite difficult to assign to a particular part of the bird, much less a species. However, the pale part has white bits, a couple of black stripes, and a bright yellow patch. Those bits don’t work for the back end of any ABA-area species, so that must be the head at which we’re looking.
The yellow patch should help in that regard, as there are a few ABA-area species with yellow above and in front of the eye, such as Savannah and White-throated sparrows and Black-throated Gray Warbler, all of which would work for the apparent size of the bird. Black-streaked brown upperparts don’t work for the warbler, but they do fine for the two sparrows. However, no plumage of Savannah Sparrow sports such bright white and distinctly and well-defined black head stripes.
I took this picture of an adult, white-striped morph White-throated Sparrow at the Cox Hall Creek W. M. A. (formerly Villas W. M. A.), Cape May Co., NJ, on 10 April 2011.
The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the September Bird Photo Quiz—White-throated Sparrow:
The following list shows the number of submissions for each species guessed.
The photo and answer for this quiz were supplied by Tony Leukering.