Bird Photo Quizzes

By Jim Burns

The last time I correctly identified all three photos in Birding magazine's photo quiz, Ronald Reagan was president. I was commiserating with Rich Ditch about this one day and the thought occurred to us to try a photo quiz in the Wrendition . I know what you're thinking! If this guy can't figure out someone else's quizzes, why is he doing ours? Well, on the one hand, there are a lot of birders out there more skilled at identification than I. On the other hand, it has long been my contention that Birding 's photo quizzes use bad photos of easy birds rather than good photos of difficult birds. [See photo quiz #3 for a clarification of this statement - ed.]

Here is our compromise. Each quiz will contain three photos: one good photo of an easy bird; one good photo of a difficult bird; and one terrible photo or a trick photo. The first category will show a bird everyone should be able to figure out, even if they haven't seen it and have to use a field guide. The second category will feature a tough identification problem in a way that will elucidate just one or perhaps a couple key field marks that can be watched for on future outings. The purpose of the third category will be to make everyone aware of how lighting, sight angles, and bad assumptions can easily lead to misidentification.

Each quiz will carry one general verbal clue to help you out. Remember I am taking color slides and the quiz will be printed in black and white [but not on the Web! - ed.]. This is going to be fun and educational.

We encourage discussion of the quiz photos at the monthly meetings, and see this as a way for everyone to have some fun and interact with other birders. We'll give the answers, along with a brief explanation or discussion, in the following issue of the Wrendition .

I have an uneasy feeling I am going to be the one picking up the most education. The bad news is I won't have much time to dither over Birding 's photo quizzes anymore. Wait a minute....that's the good news! Good luck. We hope you learn something about birds and birding and enjoy spending some time each issue with this new Wrendition feature.

The Quizzes