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Posts posted by mills0000

  1. 13 hours ago, Tony Leukering said:

    Put this out of your mind, now! Iridescent colors are useless for ID in species such as scaup. As example, if this were a scaup in stead of a dabbling duck, hopefully one would not ID it as a Lesser on the strength of the head color!


    I would argue they aren't completely useless, just a minor piece of information to compliment an ID. For example, both lesser and greater scaup can have greenish iridescence (the visibility of which is often variable depending on the lighting..) making it an unreliable field mark, but only lesser scaup have purplish iridescence (in my understanding).

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  2. 11 minutes ago, TexasCobra said:

    I do not recall the frequency of wing beats.  The birds appeared to take a direct and purposeful direction of flight with a minimum of changes in position within the flight.  They did not assume a regular formation as geese usually do.

    I see turkey vultures on a daily basis.  I do not see the black vultures as often.  I distinguish the two species by coloration and size.  In poor light and with no reference to treetops or roof tops to determine size, I might confuse the two species.  If you have additional criteria for identification I would appreciate that information.

    The main thing is the white patches on the ends of the wings, which are visible on both birds. Black vultures have entirely black wings except for the white patches. Turkey vultures have black on the front parts of their wings, but the back parts are lighter. Note that the patches on black vultures are actually white, and on turkey vultures they are just lighter if that makes sense. Black vultures also have a different shape with different wing beats, as well as a shorter tail. I don't have a ton of experience with them but I've always found their shape and wing beats to be slightly bat-like.

    As for the birds at hand, it's difficult to make an ID based on the information you have of their flight. I might say waxwings have a slightly more erratic flight on average than cowbirds, but I don't feel confident putting that out there as strong evidence.

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