Bad Bird Photograph ID Quiz

Because if birds always looked like they do in the magazines, birding would be too easy.

Here we have a photo of a distant bird, backlit, in low light. It was taken on the east slope of the Cascades on May 29. We can’t see much in the way of color or feather detail. But we do have some clues to the bird’s ID.

1. The crown has a definite peak
2. If you look closely, you can seen a line of demarcation between the dark side and the lighter belly.
3. The bird is perched at the very top of a dead tree.
4. The bird appears rather stout.
5. There appears to be a bit of white at the side of the rump.

So what bird is this? Leave a comment with your answer. I’ll reveal the ID in the comments in a couple of days.

7 thoughts on “Bad Bird Photograph ID Quiz

  1. I a going to guess Olive-sided Flycatcher as they like to be in the top of dead trees and it has a dark and flycatcherish appearance. It seams to me that Western Wood-Pewees like to stay in the sides and under some cover of trees. That’s my best guess from here in Colorado!

  2. I too have a pic not dis-similar to yours, some thought it a phoebe, but they have never seen OLIVE SIDEDS before,

    BTY which part of KANSAS did you grow up in, I grew up in Conway Springs, not far from Wichita, and always plan my family trips around migration, love Quivera, and Cheyenne Bottoms, the family gets mad when I bird more than one day however…………

    1. I actually grew up in Indiana, but moved to Kansas right out of college. I don’t get back often, but still like to visit the Cimarron Grasslands and Quivira NWR whenever I can.

  3. Behavior is often a very valuable field mark. Olive-sided Flycatchers usually hunt from the very top of a dead tree. The peaked crown, overall dark coloring, and hefty build are also good clues to this bird’s identity. – John

  4. Yesterday near Mt St Helens, Mark and I spent two hours watching a trio of Olive-sideds working from the tip top of a snag. So cool to listen to their bill snaps and funny chattery vocalizations. A Red-breasted Sapsucker joined in the flycatching and was pretty successful, too.

  5. Olive-sided Flycatcher.
    Western Wood-Pewee is not a bad guess either though.
    Nice photos (well, except for this guy).
    Larry H. Joplin MO.

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