Tricky Shorebirds: Correcting a Bird ID


Two separate readers have emailed WC suggesting that a bird back in February was mis-identified. It would not, WC promises you, be the first time WC got a bird ID wrong. Or the last.

Back on February 11, 2017, WC’s Bird of the Week called this a Baird’s Sandpiper. It’s not.

Baird's Sandpiper, Tanana Lakes, Fairbanks

Not a Baird’s Sandpiper, Tanana Lakes, Fairbanks; a Pectoral Sandpiper

In the face of the figurative firestorm, WC consulted Dr. Nils Warnock, an ornithologist, executive director of Alaska Audubon and a world shorebird specialist. His conclusion:

Yellowish legs and bill plus primary extension that does not appear to extend beyond the tail rule out Baird’s. Appears to be a Pec[toral Sandpiper] (strong breast marking, rufous cap)

WC isnt going to argue with Nils. A note will be appended to the old post and WC apologizes for the error.

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