Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Totally Different Birds: Greater Yellowlegs vs. Willet

Greater Yellowlegs
Berkeley, California, USA
Member of the Sandpiper Family

~true bird fact~ Greater Yellowlegs are notoriously understudied by scientists because they generally live in such inhospitable, mosquito-ridden, and generally unpleasant-to-hang-out-in places. Yup, that's all it takes.

Idiosyncratic taste in music and movies (likes things that are really trash)
Says "woop! woop!" over and over again. No one knows why.
Has his own ideas about morality, which may be confusing to some, but are at least internally consistent
Lives this way because he wants to, not because he must

Berkeley, California, USA
Member of the Sandpiper Family
Is into scrapbooking now

You remember Willet, don't you? Our very own third bird portraiture subject. My how far we've come, in terms of photography at least. Anyway, your Amateurnithologist was taking a walk at the Berkeley Marina and took what he believed was a nice picture of our friend Willet. Cause you can't have too many pictures of birds, right?

On a whim, I decided to check if there were any other birds that looked like a Willet, and found out about Sir Yellowlegs up there. Care to take a guess about the only visible difference between a Willet and a Greater Yellowlegs? I am left to what has become my mantra of bird identification lately- "always get good light on the feet." So there I was with a new bird to feature on the blog, but I felt like I would be remiss to not tell this story and to point out the at-times ridiculously minor differences that separate one bird from another. I mean really, it's like one of those 'can you spot 5 differences?' puzzles for children. This is what I see as one of the major barriers to entry into the hobby and we here at your bird blog want to do our best to normalize your birding experiences. At amateurnithologist "we're dumb too" is our motto.

Any pair of birds that make me say "C'mon! That is SO not a different bird!" will get featured in this way. Thanks for tuning in birdfans and til' next week- may all your birds be noticeably different looking.

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