Monday, March 16, 2015

A Bird ID Question

The following letter appeared on eBirdsnyc today, sent by a reader named J. Reib.  Once a few years ago I saw a similar bird in the very same place! Paul Sweet, an ornithologist at the American Museum of Natural History, provided  an answer for J. Reib at once, as he did for me so many years ago.  I'll include his answer at the end of the letter, [followed by a picture of the bird] to give you a chance to figure it out for yourself.

From: [
Sent: Monday, March 16, 2015 3:28 PM
To: Nyc Ebirds
Subject: [ebirdsnyc] Can anyone identify this bird?
From J. Reib:
A letter from my grandson:

Hey Grandma,
Interesting story and question you may find interesting. While on my lunch break, I came across an injured bird laying in the middle of the sidewalk just south of Bryant Park. I suppose it had flown into the nearest building and tumbled all the way down. Its prospects did not seem bright, although it seemed to have some life left in it as someone moved it to the edge of the street. When I walked by some minutes later, I did not see it. I'll choose to believe that it regained its senses and continued on its way.
It was, however, a bird I have never seen before and a very striking one. I didn't think to take a picture when I saw it (too gruesome), but it was distinctive enough that I bet you'd be able to figure out what it was. It was about the same size as a pigeon (maybe just a bit smaller), had sandy brown feathers, and spots of dark brown. Most notable was long, straight and pale beak that must have been at least three inches long. It may have had a little curve at the end. 

Paul Sweet answers via eBirdsNYCIt’s an American Woodcock.

American Woodcock