Using a Photo for the ID

While driving out of Atterbury FWA last Saturday I noticed an AMERICAN KESTREL on a wire. Not that unusual at that location.

An American Kestrel checking out dinner in the adjacent field. Atterbury FWA 11/7/15

I pulled over for a photo and then noticed another smaller bird this side of the kestrel. The smaller bird was to far away to make out a positive ID through my binoculars. So I took a few longer distance photos.

What I could make out through my binoculars.

  1. The bird looked yellowish. Kind of like a winter American Goldfinch.  But the shape was wrong. Not plump like a goldfinch.
  2. From the way it was sitting on the wire maybe a Vesper Sparrow? But that didn’t seem correct either.  Something about the face was wrong.
  3. The bird then flew and even hearing the song as it flew away didn’t help. Once again it sounded kind of like an American Goldfinch.

So hopefully one of the photos would be good enough to make a call on the ID.

And one was!

Something I hadn’t seen before, an American Pipit on a wire. I think that through me off the ID in the field. Atterbury FWA 11/7/15

And one quick glance showed it was an AMERICAN PIPIT. Note the long, narrow bill and how its slim appearance.

It’s not that unusual for me to use a photo to confirm an ID away from the Midwest, but I can honestly say this is the first time in a long time that I used a photo to ID a bird locally. I think it has to do with the fact I know the local birds fairly well. And this is one of the few times I have seen an American Pipit. And never seen one up on a wire.

Once again it shows to keep reviewing birds that might be coming through your area. Something I have been neglecting…