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Orange Crowned Sparrow?


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That's a male Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Note the tiny bill, white eyering, and black bar under a white wingbar.

There's nothing called an Orange-crowned Sparrow. I think you meant an Orange-crowned Warbler, but that species lacks the white wingbar and has a differently shaped eyering.

Edited by akandula
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2 hours ago, SteveS said:

Thanks Charlie. If you don't mind, what's your opinion on best sources? I've been using a couple books and sites, but I obviously need something different

Sibley's guide to birds is a great source. I will let @Charlie Spencer chime in for National Geographic's field guide.:classic_rolleyes:

https://www.amazon.com/Sibley-Guide-Birds-2nd/dp/030795790X/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2C5HFW6CTEO8I&keywords=sibleys+field+guide+to+birds&qid=1578277891&sprefix=Sibley%2Caps%2C1010&sr=8-1

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20 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

@SteveS, while the red flash always indicates a male, it isn't always visible.  If you can't see it, the bird could be either sex.  I have several pictures of the same kinglet, one with red and the rest without.

Females have a colored crest as well, although much less apparent and more orange than red. Learned this while watching birds being banded 🙂 . 

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30 minutes ago, Melierax said:

Females have a colored crest as well, although much less apparent and more orange than red. Learned this while watching birds being banded 🙂 . 

Just to clarify, females generally have fully olive crowns, but some AHY females can have 1-2 reddish feathers in the center of the crown. So if one sees a Ruby-crowned Kinglet with a fairly large red crown (like the OP's first bird), it can safely be called a male.

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On 1/5/2020 at 9:34 PM, Kevin said:

I will let @Charlie Spencer chime in for National Geographic's field guide.:classic_rolleyes:

@SteveS, Charlie's All-Purpose Field Guide Rant and Soapbox:

A good field guide can do more than ID birds after you've seen them.  Sibley, Peterson, National Geographic, Audubon; go to a brick-and-mortar book store or birding store so you can lay hands on a few and find the one that appeals to you.

Just browsing through it will familiarize you with the various families of birds.  Spend some time with it over lunch or a rainy afternoon.  (I once killed a 4-hour flight with Sibley's East.)  You'll see there are lots of different types of ducks, but only saw one species of dipper.  Look at the different sizes of wading birds - Least Bitterns to Great Blue Herons.  Who knew that chickadees and titmice were related, or cuckoos and roadrunners?  Vireos, pipits, sage grouse; you may not have known they even existed.  Just being aware of them may keep you from wasting time trying to ID what you thought was a duck because you were unfamiliar with coots.  It will also make you more efficient when you use an app.

Say, why are the birds in this book arranged this way?  The good ones all organized the same way, with the families in roughly evolutionary order.  Getting comfortable with the sequence of one guide will enable you to use others.  
I'd stick with a guide less than five years old.  One reason is that the range maps for many species have changed greatly due to climate change.  Another is that some species have had their names changed by the ornithology agencies that manage these things.  (Farewell, "Rufous-Sided Towhee" and "Western Scrub-Jay"!)  If you're going to use it in the field, resign yourself to some wear and tear.  If that's an issue, you can carry it in a ZipLoc to minimize dirt and moisture, and maybe wipe your hands before you open it.  I'll admit I don't worry much about the longevity of field guides.  They're usually outdated in a decade or so and they're not that expensive to replace. 

But I rarely pack one in the field; my Sibley stays in the car or the suitcase.  I usually concentrate on the bird try to get photos if I can, then ID any unknowns when I get home or back to the car.  Don't worry about what it is while you're looking at it; concentrate on what you're seeing.  Develop your observation skills and identification becomes much easier.  The details to focus on with gulls aren't the same as for warblers, and both differ from waterfowl.  A field guide will show you what to concentrate on before you hit the field,

Outside of field guides, I love National Geographic's hardcover 'Complete Guide to Birds of N.A.'  A field guide is great in the field, but by it's very nature it has to sacrifice some information to remain portable.  If you're looking for a resource around the house, something you can tag, dog-ear, and flip back and forth between when you're off-line, I'd spend the extra $20 and get a more detailed reference.  (But I'm a book nut.)  Be sure to get the second edition, not the first one from 2005 or so.

https://www.amazon.com/National-Geographic-Complete-Birds-America/dp/1426213735/ref=sr_1_6?keywords=national+geographic+birds&qid=1578416004&sr=8-6

And they never need batteries or an Internet connection. :classic_biggrin:

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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Thanks, I'll get the National Geographic; I'm surprised it's on sale for $25. I already have National Audubon North America and Stokes West for travel, they just don't help as much with all the color variations I see. I've been surprised at all the species I see just in my Las Vegas 30' by 50' back yard. Yesterday we had a sharp-shinned chasing sparrows around the yard. I spent a lot of time trying to decide if it was a Coopers or a Sharp, but decided Sharp based on size; the cinder block he's sitting on is 8" highSharp.thumb.jpg.a6fea08228f798304b1dc1f58dbc49aa.jpg

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@SteveS, where in Vegas are you?  My dad was stationed at Nellis in the mid-70s while I was in high school.  We spend large parts of the summers in southwestern Utah (Zion, Bryce, Dixie NF, etc).  The rest of the year we were drowning worms on Mead, back when there was WAY more water in the lake.  I wish I'd been into birding back then; so many missed opportunities.  :classic_ohmy:

Good move using the cinder block (or any other known object) for comparison!

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  • 1 year later...

Charlie,
Sorry, didn't see the last post. I'm on the NW side right off Grand Teton / Grand Canyon;  I was in Summerlin while at Nellis in the 90s. Later worked at Indian Springs, now done.  I went with the kids often to Red Rock, sometimes Mt Charleston - only a couple times to Zion / Bryce

 

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