Image: Eva Gerdts, April 2008 [larger view].
Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.
Rick Wright, Managing Director of WINGS Birding Tours Worldwide, writes:
Most of us will have identified this bird at a glance — the challenge is not in the identifying, but in the unraveling of the intellectual process that allowed us to say, without hesitation, “Mountain Bluebird.” There’s something to the assertion that we just got it “on jizz,” “because that’s what it looks like”; but if we stop there, if we fall short of questioning (and admiring) the way the birder’s brain works, we’re depriving ourselves of most of the pleasure of birding, and others of the benefit of our experience.
This is a gray bird perched on a wire; the wire tells us that it is small. Starting at the rear end, where we always begin with a mystery bird, we see a grayish tail (with a broken feather or two) and an ice-blue wing. Now we’re getting somewhere. This bird is too small for a jay, too slender-billed for a Passerina bunting, too heavily built for a swallow…. It must be a bluebird. And a second look at that wing shows us an absurdly long wingtip, the primary tips reaching more than halfway down the tail — a distinctive character ruling out the other species of Sialia. The gray head with a fine eyering, gray underparts with just a hint of warm buff across the upper breast, and faint spangling beneath also fit Mountain Bluebird.
So why’s this a Mountain Bluebird? Just because. And just because of the characteristics that new birders need to learn — and experienced birders fuse unconsciously into knowledge.
Review all mystery birds to date.