Category Archives: Quiz

Quiz: Identify Them in Flight

Waterbirds in flight, Florida 2013 (photo by Don Weiss)
Waterbirds in flight, Florida 2013 (photo by Don Weiss)

Can you identify these birds in flight?

Hints:

  • Don Weiss took the photo at Merritt Island, Florida.
  • I see 6 species.   Do you see more?
  • The pink ones are my favorite.
  • I see wood storks.  (But I’m wrong!  They are white pelicans.)

 

(photo by Don Weiss)

The Answer … or at least part of the answer …

Annotated birds in flight (photo by Don Weiss)
Annotated birds in flight (photo by Don Weiss)
  1. Glossy ibis
  2. White pelican –> white tail & black doesn’t extend all the way to the body
  3. Common tern?  (Certainly a tern)
  4. Snowy egret (kc saw yellow feet)
  5. Great egret
  6. Roseate spoonbill
  7. White ibis

Any others?

The Reindeer Quiz

Santa, sleigh, and reindeer (image from Clipart Library)
Santa, sleigh, and reindeer (image from Clipart Library)

Legend says that reindeer will pull Santa’s sleigh tonight.

What do we know about real reindeer (Rangifer tarandus)?

Here’s a quiz based on Reindeer: 12 Fascinating Facts About These Amazing Creatures on the National Wildlife Federation website.  Click on the 12 Facts link to see the answers and even more information.

THE QUIZ:

a. Reindeer live in Europe, Asia and North America, but on our continent they have a different name.  What are they called?

Map of reindeer range (image from Wikimedia Commons)
Map of reindeer range (image from Wikimedia Commons)

b. Among moose, elk and white-tailed deer, only the males grow antlers.  What about reindeer?

c. Reindeer coats change from winter to summer and so do their hooves.  What’s different about their hooves and why do they change?

Reindeer in Svalbard (photo by Per Harald Olsen via Wikimedia Commons)
Reindeer in Svalbard (photo by Per Harald Olsen via Wikimedia Commons)

d. “Some subspecies have knees that make a clicking noise when they walk.”   What’s the advantage to making this noise?   (Do your knees click?  Here’s an excuse for it.)

e. Reindeer do migrate and those in North America travel quite far.  How far do they go?

f. Reindeer used to live in the Lower 48.  Which state?  And how long ago was that?

g. Where did we get the idea that reindeer can pull sleighs?   Here’s a visual answer.

Reindeer pulling a sleigh circa 1900 in Archangel, Russia (photo from Wikimedia Commons)
Reindeer pulling a sleigh circa 1900 in Archangel, Russia (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

h. Who is the leading predator of reindeer calves?  (Hint: It’s a bird!)

 

Visit Reindeer: 12 Fascinating Facts About These Amazing Creatures for the answers.

 

(clipart from Clipart Library; photos from Wikimedia Commons. Click on the images to see the originals)

Green Eggs On Nettle

Green eggs on stinging nettle leaves (photo by Kate St.John)
Green eggs on stinging nettle leaves (photo by Kate St.John)

Today, a quiz.

I found green eggs on stinging nettle on August 9 at Wolf Creek Narrows, Butler County, PA.

Are they eggs or something else?

And who laid them?

Post a comment with your answer.

I’ll reveal their identity later today.

 

THE ANSWER:  29 August, 3:15pm
This was a tricky quiz because the structures really do look like eggs. I thought they were butterfly eggs but they are too smooth. The likely butterflies lay very wrinkled eggs.  For instance, click here to see the eggs of the small tortoiseshell butterfly.

Mary Ann Pike correctly identified the green “eggs” as nettle galls of (probably) Dasineura investita.  The galls are the plant’s defenses against the larvae inside them.  The larvae are from midges so tiny that I can’t find photographs of the adult insects though these three photos may give you an idea.

Caterpillars of the Sordid Hypena moth (Hypena sordidula) eat these galls.  Click here to see it.

 

(photo by Kate St. John)

Be A Bird Sleuth

Rufous-tailed jacamar, male (photo from Wikimedia Commons)
Quiz: What bird is this? (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

On a birding trip in Costa Rica:

Back in 2011 I made a bird identification quiz that featured this bird because it looks cool and I’d never seen it before.

Today I’m in Costa Rica within this bird’s home range.

Follow the link below to figure out what bird this is.

Quiz: Be A Bird Sleuth

 

(photo from Wikimedia Commons; click on the image to see the original)

(*) p.s. As I mentioned on Jan 27, I wrote this article before I left home so I couldn’t know if I’d see this bird.  I’ll let you know when I get back.

Day 7: Las Cruces Field Station

Quiz: What Bird?

What bird is flying over the iceberg in Franz Josef Land? (photo from Wikimedia Commons)
What bird is flying here in Franz Josef Land? (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

This Featured picture from Wikimedia Commons was taken in Franz Josef Land, a Russian archipelago of 191 islands in the Arctic Ocean.

It’s a beautiful photo of an iceberg and there’s a bird in it.

Quiz:  What bird?

Here are some hints:

So what bird is flying by this iceberg in Russia?  I think I know.

Leave a comment with your answer.

 

(photo from Wikimedia Commons. Click on the image to see the original)

Four-Letter Bird Codes: What and How

Five 4-letter bird codes. What birds do these represent?
Five 4-letter bird codes. What birds do these represent?

GWFG and SNGO at Pymatuning, Crawford county

That’s a bird report headline from PABIRDS, February 7, 2016.  If you’re not familiar with 4-letter bird codes it’s a meaningless message and you wouldn’t know these may be Life Birds.  (Fortunately the names are inside the report.)

Few birds have short names so abbreviations come in handy when you’re writing down a lot of them … as we’re doing today for the Great Backyard Bird Count.  The U.S. Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) ran into this problem early on and made a standardized list of 4-letter codes for birds in North America based on their complete English names.  The coding scheme works roughly like this.

  • 4 words in name: First letter of each word.  Greater white-fronted goose = GWFG
  • 3 words in name:  First letter of first 2 words + 2 letters of the last word. Great horned owl = GHOW, Red-eyed vireo = REVI.
    EXCEPT if the last two words are hyphenated.  I always get this wrong! It’s the reverse of the rule above and there aren’t many names that fit this pattern.  Rule is: First 2 letters of first word + first letters of last 2 words:

    • Eastern screech-owl = EASO
    • Eastern wood-pewee = EAWP
  • 2 words: First 2 letters of each word.  Snow goose = SNGO, American robin = AMRO
  • 1 word: First 4 letters. Sora = SORA, Brambling = BRAM
  • Collisions: Sometimes two bird names result in the same code as in BTGW for both the Black-throated green warbler and Black-throated gray warbler.  In this case, look up the code using the links below.

Here’s the complete alphabetic list developed by The Institute for Bird Populations.  For a better explanation of the coding scheme, see this page on the Carolina Bird Club website.

Now that you know how to decipher the codes, here’s a quiz.

What five birds are named in the image above?

Leave a comment with your answer.

 

(illustration by Kate St. John)