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Among the 10 species guessed in this month's photo quiz, chickadees figured prominently with five species hypothesized.
Even those who didn't suggest chickadees suggested similar birds—White-breasted Nuthatch (which can be eliminated by the lack of rufous near the vent, and paler grayish upperparts with a slight olive wash); Red-breasted Nuthatch (also eliminated by this bird's paler upperparts and more extensive white edging to the flight feathers). Gray Jay was the only other species that received more than one vote (which is ruled out by shape and structure as well as the pale buff wash to the flanks and extensive black coming down the back of the head).
So this leaves us with chickadees—a group that was likely chosen because of the combination of structure, black on the head and a buff wash to the flanks. Looking carefully at the head, we can see a slight black line that runs through the white—a feature that is visible on both sides of the head. The only species that shows this (along with previously mentioned traits) is the Mountain Chickadee. The wash of buff to the flanks is typical of the nominate wide-ranging gambeli, subspecies of the northern and Rocky Mountains.
This Mountain Chickadee was photographed in along the Arkansas River in Fremont County, Colorado during December 2007.
The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the January Bird Photo Quiz—Mountain Chickadee:
The following list shows the number of submissions for each species guessed.
The photo and answer for this quiz were supplied by Chris Wood.