ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 162


The green upperparts, yellow vent area, and obvious eye ring should let us cut straight to the chase and crack open the warblers section of our favorite ABA-area field guide.  But, where to start among the warblers?

Well, I want to start with the eye ring.  What is the Holy Grail of eye-ringed warblers in the ABA area?  I’m not talking (well, writing) about those mamby-pamby eye-ringed warblers whose eye rings, given less-than-stellar views, might be complete, but might be bisected by a thin dark eyeline, as on many of those fancy Setophaga – such as on Magnolia or Pine warblers – or on those drab fall Geothlypis – such as on Common Yellowthroat or Mourning Warbler.  I’m talking about those whacking obvious complete eye rings on blank, staring faces – such as on Ovenbird and fall Chestnut-sided Warbler.  Of course it is Connecticut Warbler, is there really any argument?

Now, what is the most common, yea abundant, warbler species with “whacking obvious complete eye rings on blank, staring faces?”  For obvious reasons, the Holy Grail Warbler is not that species.  It is the warbler species with the largest breeding range of any of the plenitude of ABA-area warbler species.  I would hazard that it is the most frequently detected warbler in the ABA area, at least April through August.  The answer is Yellow Warbler, which breeds from the Arctic deep into Mexico, in all Canadian provinces and all but one or two of the continental states of the United States.  So, why is it that so many birders do not think of Yellow Warbler as an eye-ringed warbler?

In fall, when the minds of many birders turn to hopes of the Holy Grail, a complete and contrasting pale eye ring on even the commonest of warblers may lead one to be thrown from the Bridge of Death into the Gorge of Eternal Peril.  However, that commonest of eye-ringed warblers is all about fringes.  Fringes on the median coverts.  Fringes on the greater coverts.  Fringes on the primary coverts. Fringes on the secondaries and primaries.  And, of course, whacking big fringes on the tertials.  Fringes on Connecticut Warbler?  Not so much.  In fact, absolutely not.

I took this picture of a Yellow Warbler (probably an immature female given the bird’s green-ness) in Cut Bank, Glacier Co., MT, on 28 August 2016 (see eBird checklist for another view of the quiz bird).


The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the September 2016 Bird Photo Quiz —Yellow Warbler:

  1. Kyron Hanson - Pittsfield, MA
  2. Isabel Apkarian - Toronto, Ontario
  3. Joshua Glant - Seattle, WA
  4. Isaac - Kamloops, BC
  5. Tim Swain - Concord, Massachusetts
  6. Caleb Strand - Buckeye, AZ
  7. Andrew Barndt - Hudson, Massachusetts
  8. Jack Rogers - Mt Pleasant, SC
  9. Isaiah Nugent - Bellingham, WA
  10. Owen Strickland - Toronto, Ontario
  11. Kyle Lima - Ellsworth, ME
  12. Aiden Moser - Henniker, NH
  13. David Tonnessen - Colorado Springs, CO
  14. Alison Sheehey - Kernville, CA
  15. Patrick Maurice - Atlanta, Georgia
  16. Andrew Theus - Berrien Springs, MI
  17. Keith Bailey - Davis
  18. Cathy Sheeter - Oradell, NJ
  19. Patrick Tilley - Encinitas, CA
  20. Steve Juhasz - Mission, BC
  21. Pam Myers - Marysville, WA
  22. Molly Zahn - Lawrence, KS
  23. Cole G. - Vancouver, BC
  24. Ryan Andrews - San Diego, CA
  25. Caleb Scholtens - Hamilton, Ontario
  26. Neil Gilbert - Tuscaloosa, AL
  27. Tonya Holland - Tucson, Arizona
  28. Matthew Beatty - Valparaiso, IN
  29. Amy Courtney - Hoonah, AK
  30. Matt Brady - Baton Rouge, LA
  31. Brooke Miller - San Jose, California
  32. Chris Johnson - Mountain View, CA
  33. Scott Hampton - Cut Bank, MT
  34. Lee Jones - Cobb
  35. Alison Beringer - Bloomfield, NJ
  36. Jeremy Collison - Ithaca, NY
  37. Michael Woodruff - Loma Linda, CA
  38. Jim Hully - Grayslake, Illinois
  39. Aaron Hulsey - Bowling Green, KY
  40. Nina Sitra - Sugar Land, TX
  41. Jason McGuire - London, ON
  42. Baxter Beamer - Virginia, United States
  43. Hiram Herrera - Chula Vista, CA
  44. Jerald Reb - Dover, DE
  45. Terri Everett - Big Rapids
  46. Mike Wasilco - Caledonia, NY
  47. Ben Anderson - Duluth, MN
  48. Jason Vassallo - Seattle, WA

How Did You Compare?

As stated in the quiz rules, answers must consist simply of the Common or English name exactly as it appears in the ABA Checklist.

The following list shows the number of submissions for each species guessed.

Nashville Warbler
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Magnolia Warbler
Hutton's Vireo
Connecticut Warbler
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blue-headed Vireo
Cassin's Vireo
Thick-billed Vireo
Pine Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Japanese White Eye
Canada Warbler






The photo and answer for this quiz were supplied by Tony Leukering.