Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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[Mystery bird] Cave Swallow, Petrochelidon fulva, photographed at the Water Ranch in Gilbert, Arizona. [I will identify this bird for you tomorrow]

Image: Richard Ditch, 18 February 2008 [larger view].

Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.

Review all mystery birds to date.


  1. #1 John Callender
    March 16, 2009

    I’m getting a “juvenile swallow” feeling from this bird. In terms of the colors of the throat and underparts, I’d think maybe a Northern Rough-winged Swallow. But the notched tail bothers me; I’d prefer that was more squared-off looking.

    Still, I like rough-winged better than anything else.

  2. #2 Bob O'H
    March 16, 2009

    Frank, sat next to me in the meeting, said “swallow” straight away. I would ask him for more details, but it would distract him from his chocolate.

  3. #3 Gary Smith
    March 16, 2009

    Cave Swallow, maybe a juvenile. Seems slightly out of range, but the combination of dark color around the eye, buffy throat and sides, and dark wings seems to fit.

  4. #4 Michelle M
    March 16, 2009

    The gape and the long crossed wings immediately said “Swallow!” to me, and the buffy sides and paler breast, along with the darker head and shoulders makes me guess Northern Rough Winged.

  5. #5 The Ridger
    March 16, 2009

    I think a cave swallow. We have them here and it looks familiar. Wings and color. But juveniles still throw me, so it might be one I haven’t seen.

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