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mike34

Short vs Long-billed Dowitcher?

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17 hours ago, MerMaeve said:

Long-Billed i think

Are there any particular field marks that lead you to that?

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1 hour ago, mike34 said:

Are there any particular field marks that lead you to that?

Shallow-forehead,  looks like they eat a grapefruit. That's all I can see

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13 minutes ago, MerMaeve said:

Shallow-forehead,  looks like they eat a grapefruit. That's all I can see

Long-billed Dowitcher would be a first for Newport News on eBird.

The way the tail is striped on the dowitcher on the left would indicate to be Short-billed. From New Advances in the field identification of Dowitchers,

"Tail feather pattern is one plumage feature that is believed not to change significantly with age. It is often cited as a very reliable field mark (Wilds, 1990; Jaramillo et al., 1991; Jaramillo and Henshaw, 1995): on Short-billed, the white (or buff in alternate plumage) bars on the tail feathers are reported to be as wide or slightly wider than the black bars (Fig. 8) whereas on Long-billed, the black bars are wider than the white (or buff in alternate plumage) bars, sometimes even twice as wide "

I don't see those stripes as being nearly 2 times as wide, so I'm going with Short-billed

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Just now, crazed4birds said:

Long-billed Dowitcher would be a first for Newport News on eBird.

The way the tail is striped on the dowitcher on the left would indicate to be Short-billed. From New Advances in the field identification of Dowitchers,

"Tail feather pattern is one plumage feature that is believed not to change significantly with age. It is often cited as a very reliable field mark (Wilds, 1990; Jaramillo et al., 1991; Jaramillo and Henshaw, 1995): on Short-billed, the white (or buff in alternate plumage) bars on the tail feathers are reported to be as wide or slightly wider than the black bars (Fig. 8) whereas on Long-billed, the black bars are wider than the white (or buff in alternate plumage) bars, sometimes even twice as wide "

I don't see those stripes as being nearly 2 times as wide, so I'm going with Short-billed

You're probably right...........making me wrong....again:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(  I don't know if they are id-able from this photo alone.  Another photos, @mike34??

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Those tail bars can come very close, perhaps even a bit of overlap. They're useful in the extreme cases, but be careful with them.

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59 minutes ago, Sean C. said:

the bill is twice the length of the head, so I would think LBDO

Bill length is an extremely variable (and incredibly unreliable when it comes to dowitchers) thing as well, as are most things with dowitchers, don't go off of it alone

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1 hour ago, douginBC said:

Dowitchers.

In cases like this it is worth taking a trip back in time to when they were considered one species.

WHY did they split???????????? :angry::(<_<  Life was so much easier in the good ol' days.  (from what I've heard)

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12 minutes ago, MerMaeve said:

WHY did they split?

Because on closer inspection they are/were two distinct species with different breeding ranges which can reliably identified in some plumages and they have distinctly different calls. To my eyes the Short-bills also appear to have a broader base of their bill too but that is apparently another iffy thing.

In these winter plumages silent birds are close to impossible to ID in most cases but I'm sure that there are some experts with lots of experience with them who can do that. I'm definitely not one of them. I have very little experience with SBs - very rare in my birding area - and the only ones that I have been sure about are the easy-to-ID juveniles.

 

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Update...  I got back to the same location and found three Dowitchers (most likely the same three).  While there, a Cooper's Hawk cruised in and flushed the birds and they gave a call that seems to fit the Short-billed best.  Again, thanks for all the feedback.

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