Readers’ wildlife video

Reader Rick Longworth sent a video of birds, challenging readers to identify them. It’s not too hard to get most of them, but I bet only birders get them all. I’ve put his ID’s, and a photo by Stephen Barnard, below the fold; Rick’s notes are indented. Try to guess! Rick says this:
This video presents a set of 6 bird species I filmed around my home near Caldwell, Idaho, during May and June.  If you’d like, you can accept the challenge of identifying them. The birds are numbered.  I think only one is found only in the West.
Be sure to turn the sound up.

Click on “Read more” below to see the IDs. If you got them all, you can brag in the comments.

Notes are edited from

1.  Mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) When taking off, their wings make a sharp whistling or whinnying.

2.  Common nighthawk  (Chordeiles minor) They perch facing along a branch, rather than across it as birds usually do. Nighthawks are in the nightjar family, and are similar in most respects to the nightjars, but have shorter bills and plumage that is less soft.

3.  Bullock’s oriole (Icterus bullockii) Canopy-gleaners of open woodlands in the western U.S., they dangle upside down from branches while foraging and weaving their remarkable hanging nests.

4.  Downy woodpecker  (Dryobates pubescens) I think I’ve filmed a male marking territory by drumming. In winter, males feed more on small branches and weed stems, and females feed on larger branches and trunks. Males keep females from foraging in the more productive spots. When researchers have removed males from a woodlot, females have responded by feeding along smaller branches. I know, not woke.

5.  Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)  Ospreys are unusual among hawks in possessing a reversible outer toe that allows them to grasp with two toes in front and two behind. When flying with prey, an Osprey lines up its catch head first for less wind resistance, as you can see in the film.

6.  American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)  During breeding season, they commonly forage at night. Even though it’s hard to see, nighttime foraging tends to result in larger fish being caught than during the daytime.   Embryos squawk before hatching to express discomfort if conditions get too hot or cold.

Stephen Barnard recently posted this nice nighthawk photo on Facebook; added here with permission:


  1. Liz
    Posted July 17, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    This was very fun. I got the first and the fourth one. I thought the third one was possibly a Baltimore oriole. Thank you.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 17, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    I kind of got them all but only called the first one a dove and the third an oriole.

  3. Posted July 17, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    What a beautiful photo of Stephen’s nighthawk. Almost looks like bird was made with a patterned fabric.

  4. Posted July 17, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    I got them all to some degree with the exception of the nighthawk which I am surprised to see is actually found where I live – near Atlanta. I knew the oriole, pelican, and woodpecker but not the exact variety of each. The osprey was something of a guess based on seeing a large, fishing bird.

    I love the soft cooing of the mourning doves on a Spring morning. I’m familiar with sharp whistling when they take off but thought it was vocal, not caused by the wings.

  5. Posted July 17, 2019 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Almost. I was thinking nightjar rather than nighthawk. Big nostrils on that bird.

    • rickflick
      Posted July 17, 2019 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      And a very tiny beak. The mouth is a big bug catcher when opened.

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