Reader’s wildlife video

Rick Longworth sent a video of birds at his new feeder in Idaho. There are seven of them, and I’ve identified them, in order, below the fold. Guess the species as you watch, and then check to see if you got 100%.

Rick’s notes:

Birds at the feeder – Having recently moved to the West, I have had the great pleasure of learning a new assortment of backyard bird species.  In New York we saw cardinals, bluebirds, and titmice in winter.  I’ve assembled clips of the birds I’ve seen at our new abode in Idaho.  You can treat this as a quiz if you delay looking at the species list that follows the film.  Extra credit if you can name the musical accompaniment.

There are numbers on the screen connected with each species, so you may want to write down your guesses.


Click below to see the identity of the seven birds.

1.   White crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) – Found across North America.  It migrates south in winter but is found all year in the West. The male tends to the initial brood while the female starts a second clutch.

2.  American Robin (Turdus migratorius) –  Robins migrate in winter but many stay around through the year.  We have had as many as 50 robins at once roosting in trees near the house through January.

3.  European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) – Covered in white spots during winter, they turn dark and glossy in summer.  Famous, as we know, for their flocking behavior and murmurations.

4.  Eurasian collared-dove (Streptopelia decaocto) – Similar to the mourning dove, but it has a black collar and a broader tail. These are invasive and are displacing the morning dove in North America.

5.  Cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) – One of my favorites.  They usually stay in tight flocks or together while feeding or roosting.  They have been seen passing a berry from beak to beak so those farther from the source can eat. [JAC: we’ll see a photo of this generosity in the next few days.]

6.  Dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis) – These prefer Canada and the mountains in summer, but spread all over in winter.  The species has several forms. Ours are called Oregon juncos. In the East they are all gray, slate-colored juncos. It is estimated there are 630 million juncos in North America.

7.  Northern flicker (Colaptes auratus ) – It’s a kind of woodpecker.  The male red-shafted form shown here, has a red mustache. The similar yellow-shafted form has red on the back of the neck. This one stopped by the bird bath for a drink.

Music – Armida Quartet_ Bedřich Smetana Streichquartett Nr.1 e-moll Aus meinem Leben, 1. Satz Allegro vivo appassionato.


  1. BobTerrace
    Posted February 8, 2019 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Thank you.

  2. Christopher
    Posted February 8, 2019 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    So envious of the waxwings! I’ve only ever seen them in a Kansas strip mall parking lot and the only one I don’t get in my yard. Nicely done, thanks for sharing.

    As for the ID’s, 7/7 using common names, 2/7 binomials. I need to work on my scientific names, it it’s harder to remember something you’re not sure how to pronounce.

    • rickflick
      Posted February 8, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      Congratulations. I’m still struggling with common names.

    • Barbara Radcliffe
      Posted February 8, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      My advice, for what it’s worth, is pronounce all the vowels, and say the name with confidence. No one is likely to argue with you! If they do you can fall back on saying, ‘Oh, do you use old-church Latin pronounciation?’ Adapted (quite a bit) from the chapter in Stearn’s Botanical Latin.
      Great photos!

  3. Liz
    Posted February 8, 2019 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    I got 2, 3, and 5. This was really beautiful. The cedar waxwings with the music was especially very beautiful.

    • Liz
      Posted February 8, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      *with the common names

  4. Posted February 8, 2019 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Thanks for submitting this. The videos are excellent and very enjoyable. More, please.

    • Glenda Palmer
      Posted February 8, 2019 at 2:25 pm | Permalink


  5. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 8, 2019 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Thank you! And especially for the music reference – It hit the spot!

  6. Terry Sheldon
    Posted February 8, 2019 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Got them all except for the dove (identified it as a mourning dove). The juncos definitely look different from the ones we have here in the east. Also envious about the number of waxwings…I’ve never seen more than two or three at a time.

  7. Posted February 8, 2019 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Dinosaurs with wings and Smetana. Breakfast coffee is most delightful watching this superb video.

  8. Merilee
    Posted February 8, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Beautiful birds and bonus music (so unlike the usual hokey music in nature videos). Thanks!

    • rickflick
      Posted February 8, 2019 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Finding good music is not easy. Anything published is off limits.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted February 8, 2019 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        The unfortunately named INCOMPETECH site hosts Creative Commons music Rick. To use the Incompetech search function you have to register & log in – it’s the works of the American ‘composer’ Kevin Macleod which ranges from dreadful to pretty good.

        Nice birdie video! I like especially #7 – the face closeup at the end of the video.

        More please.

        • rickflick
          Posted February 8, 2019 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          I do have a few Macleod tracks, but I did not know he had this web site. Thanks for the tip.

  9. Debbie Coplan
    Posted February 8, 2019 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    That was a fun thing to do, especially with that wonderful music. I hope you submit more of these videos. Thank you!

  10. notsecurelyanchored
    Posted February 8, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Loved it. What are the berries they are eating? Did I miss that?

  11. Carl S
    Posted February 8, 2019 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Nice videos.
    It was ~10+ yrs ago? I first heard the Eurasian collared dove here (CA central valley) and a few months later that I actually saw one. Now, just stepping out the door I hear and see them by the dozens. I’m hearing one now as I type this in my kitchen. Don’t know that I’ve seen a Mourning Dove for a long time.

    • rickflick
      Posted February 8, 2019 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      I’m just back from Orange County and, happily, we saw only mourning doves. Eventually, I suspect, there will be no more in North America.

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