Thursday, April 21, 2016

Fooled by a European Starling

European Starling at our suet feeder  - January 3, 2016

Matt Hunter recently wrote about the perplexing problem of bird identification when a species mimics another species.  I have often witnessed Stellars Jays imitating a Red-tailed Hawk, so I know it happens.  Matt's discusion lead me to speculate on an experience I had recently in my back yard, that of hearing a California Quail while sitting on my back porch.  I identified the quail on the 8th of this month. I did not see a quail, in fact the only bird within sight was a European Starling.  I got to thinking about  this has happened to me before.  I have not seen the quail, but several times in the last couple of years I have heard them.  I saw Matt this past week and I asked him about Startlings and what birds they can mimic.  The first bird he mentioned was a California Quail!  I went back into my eBird records this afternoon an removed my observations of California Quail from my backyard.  Interesting enough they have happened in the same month, the month of April for the past two years.

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