ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 36


Bird Photo

Foliage can be quite the impediment to identifying birds. How many times have you had just a little hole through which to see a bird. You actually can see the bird quite well; it's just facing "the wrong way." Then it moves up, hidden! You think, "Should I pish?" "Should I wait and see if it moves up?" Then, while you're contemplating the strange combination of your pishing skills, ABA's code of Ethics, and your inability to imitate a screech-owl, the little guy flies away-into the unknown! You're left thinking, "If only I had studied Tom Schultz's warbler tail plates in that warbler guide I could have identified this; well, that is, if it was a warbler!"

But here we have the little guy frozen in time. Awkwardly frozen, but frozen nevertheless. We can actually see a lot, a bright yellow throat, paler belly, bright white undertail coverts and grayish, maybe blue-gray upperparts. Verdin may come to mind, but that species wouldn't show this extent of yellow and this bird's legs seem too thick and bulky.. We may, also, think of Yellow-breasted Chat; but our bird seems too small and far too short-tailed.

Warblers are brightly colored, so that's a good place to start. The lack of wing bars eliminates everything from Blackburnian Warbler to both parulas, and Yellow-throated Vireo. Canada Warbler lacks wings bars, has white undertail coverts and yellow, but the yellow should extend well onto the flanks and the yellow coloration should not be quite so deep orange. Furthermore, the undertail coverts on our bird are longer than we would expect with a Canada Warbler and we can see white on the underside of the tail (Canada has an all dark tail).

The only warbler we are left with is Prothonotary, but aren't those really brightly colored? Not first-year birds. They look a lot like this. Some appear exactly like this, in fact. I photographed this first-cycle Prothonotary Warbler in late April at Ft. Jefferson, Dry Tortugas, Florida.


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

  1. Luke Seitz, Falmouth, Maine
  2. Neil Gilbert, Beverly Hills, Mi
  3. Rob Poniatowski, Grosse Pointe Woods, MI
  4. Mark Brown, Dalmatia, Pa
  5. crystal malick, Dalmatia, Pa
  6. Rich Swartzentruber, Salem, Oregon
  7. Steve Hampton, Davis, CA
  8. Dave Brown, Mt.Pearl, Newfoundland
  9. Mark Chao, Ithaca, NY
  10. Bert Harris, Sewanee, TN
  11. Aaron Boone, Columbus, Ohio
  12. Will Richardson, Truckee, CA
  13. Marcelo Brongo, Barcelona, Spain
  14. Philip Kline, Tucson, AZ
  15. Seabrooke Leckie, Toronto, Ontario
  16. Maggie MacPherson, Guelph
  17. Steven Mitten, Belize City, Belize
  18. Scott Wieman, Katonah, New York
  19. James P. Smith, Amherst, MA
  20. Gary W. Potter, Sanger, California
  21. Jill Kaminski, Naples, FL
  22. Valerie Alzner, Bel Air , MD
  23. Roberto Cavalieros, Brooklyn, NY
  24. Kevin Welsh, Novi, Michigan
  25. Tom Benson, San Bernardino, CA
  26. Robert Lengacher, Tallahassee, FL
  27. Kyle Horner, Guelph, On
  28. Ethan Kistler, Newton Falls, Ohio
  29. Adam Nisbett, Saint James, MO
  30. Justin Jones, Glendale, AZ
  31. Robert Lockett, Portland, Oregon
  32. Justin Bosler, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  33. Colin Gjervold, St Petersburg, FL
  34. Myles Falconer, Peterborough, ON
  35. Deborah K. Essman, Ellensburg, WA
  36. Tim Hochstetler, Millersburg, OH
  37. Robert Mottershead, Philadelphia, PA
  38. Urs Geiser, Woodridge, Illinois
  39. Oscar Johnson, Santa Barbara, California
  40. Joel Mundall, Loma Linda, CA
  41. Richard Garrigues, San Antonio de Belen, Heredia, Costa Rica
  42. Christian Hagenlocher, St. Louis, Missouri
  43. Stephen Joly, Kamloops, BC
  44. Marcel Gauthier, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC, Canada
  45. Arun Bose, Richmond, VA
  46. Bill Maynard, Colorado Springs, CO
  47. Susan Olcott, Independence, WV
  48. Bertram E.B. BREE, Jersey Island, European Channel Isles, Europe
  49. Jon Mundall, Connell, WA
  50. Malia Wenny, Galena, IL
  51. Liis Veelma, Winnipeg, MB
  52. Alex Lin-Moore, Houston, TX
  53. Jim Gilbert, Bernardsville, NJ
  54. Matt Anthony, Bel Air, MD
  55. Ben Coulter, Erie, PA
  56. Jason Waanders, Washington, DC
  57. Mike Boyd, Oakville, Ontario
  58. Sarah DeViney, Jonesboro, AR
  59. Jason Paulios, Iowa City, IA
  60. Mary Chambers, Davis, CA
  61. Bruce Dugger, Albany, OR
  62. Jared Caster, Hannibal NY
  63. mike bedson, Ellington, CT
  64. Joshua D. Kreitzer, Provo, Utah
  65. Carrie Braden, Portage la Prairie, MB
  66. L. Craig Swanson, Benton City, WA
  67. Nels F. Thompson, Owatonna, MN
  68. Nikolas Kotovich, Mill River, Mass
  69. Nicolas Halle, St-Nicolas, QC, Canada
  70. Matthew Schneider, Silverton, OR
  71. Gary Bird, Maxeys, GA
  72. Brian Ahern, Tampa, FL
  73. Andrew Keaveney, Guelph, ON
  74. David Hollie, Ringgold, GA
  75. Stephanie Smith, Lansing, MI
  76. Yves Gauthier, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  77. Greg Zupansic, Eugene, Oregon
  78. Francesc Jutglar, Cardedeu, Spain
  79. Cynthia Taylor, Tucson, AZ
  80. Travis A. Mahan, Decatur, IL
  81. Nick Anich, Ashland, WI
  82. Ed Harper, Sacramento, CA
  83. Noah Gaines, Flagstaff, AZ
  84. Craig Bateman, Novi, MI
  85. Tim Baerwald, Eau Claire, MI
  86. Blue Rubinstein, New York, NY
  87. Robert Doster, Albuquerque, NM
  88. Ben Young, Salem, OR
  89. Susannah B. Lerman, Amherst, MA
  90. Chris Warren, Fort Collins, CO
  91. Karen Rubinstein, New York, NY
  92. Eddie Mundall, Klamath Falls, OR
  93. Sandra Lautrup, Effingham, IL
  94. Marcus Mundall, Williamsport, MD
  95. Graham Etherington, Norwich, UK

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.

Prothonotary Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Yellow-throated Vireo
Blackburnian Warbler
Northern Parula
Tropical Parula
Worm-eating Warbler
Crescent-chested Warbler
Canada Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Olive Warbler
Pine Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
American Goldfinch
Buff-breasted Flycatcher
Bullock's Oriole
Hooded Warbler
Lesser Goldfinch
Philadelphia Vireo
Prairie Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
White-eyed Vireo
Yellow Rail
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler


The photo and answer for this quiz were supplied by Chris Wood.