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      Whatbird Forums Rules   01/08/17

      'Help Me Identify a Bird' rules: When posting a new thread, please: 1. Read the FAQ and forum rules before posting 2. Include the location in your Post when seeking ID 3. Include the date of the sighting 4. Provide a photo or detailed description of the bird Forum rules: By posting in the WhatBird forums you agree to the following board rules: 1. You will be tolerant and respectful of your fellow members 2. You will not spam 3. You will not post sexually explicit, vulgar or racist material 4. You will not advertise or sell products 5. You will not discuss illegal activities 6. You will keep topics of religion and politics to a bare minimum 7. You will not take advantage of chat to break any of the above rules. 8. Members will not discuss homosexuality nor make any comments about others' sexuality. Breaking any of these rules may result in a suspension or a permanent ban from the forums!! Furthermore, anyone who causes continuous dissent and disarray in the forums will be banned as seen fit by the forum moderators under the pretense of "trolling." Gallery photos: Regarding photos in the Whatbird gallery, please keep in mind that the copyright belongs to the person who took the photo. So please do not use any of the Gallery photos without requesting permission from the photographer. Forum Photos: If you use photos other than your own, please place a link to the referenced photo and do not post other photographer's work directly.
    • Aveschapines

      Found a baby bird or a sick or injured bird?   07/11/17

      Here is a short article with advice for what to do if you find a baby bird or one that appears to be sick or injured. Bird rescue article Please feel free to post here if you have questions or need more help.
mike34

Short vs Long-billed Dowitcher?

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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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