Date: 4/29/17 3:56 pm
From: Ragupathy Kannan <0000013b0ad14faf-dmarc-request...>
Subject: a bird in the hand.....
A bird in the hand is not easy to identify, especially if you're a field ornithologist.  This humbling reality was brought home yesterday when I had no clue what this little 4-inch long bird that I found by our building was. 
It had two wing bars, yellow lores, and vireo-like bill.  I should have known, right?  But I sent a photo to Kim and Sandy and Bill and Dan. Kim thought it was an Empi and sent me some Empi ID keys; Sandy was flummoxed too.  She was not sure it was a flycatcher at all since it did not have rictal bristles; I even took the bird to my ecology lab and gave a little spiel on Empis.  
And then Dan-the-bird-man nailed it.  White-eyed Vireo.  
Duh.  This is a bird I could have said a mile away, even when it is not visible.  Yet, when it was in my hand, I was foxed. 
I narrated this to Doug James today.  He said "Oh, it happens all the time!  Field ornithologists are often clueless when they open a drawer of museum specimens in the Smithsonian.  And vice versa.  Museum people are often lousy in the field"
And then he ended with a classic Doug James anecdote.  He said that when a statue of Ben Kimpel (UA English professor, 1952-83) was unveiled, some folks in the crowd said "It doesn't look like Ben", for which he retorted, "That's because he is not moving!". 
KannanFt. Smith
 
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