The Nature Writers of Texas

The best nature writing from the newspaper, magazine, blog and book authors of the Lone Star State . . .

Sunday, September 28, 2003

How Much do You Know about our Local Birds?
Ro Wauer, September 28, 2003, The Victoria Advocate, © 2003

Just for the fun of it, here is a short quiz about birds. For avid birders, this quiz should be a piece of cake. And for anyone who has read my Nature Notes over the years, you should be able answer more than half of the following questions. Answer by circling A, B or C. The correct letters are included at the end.

1. America's official national bird is: (A) wild turkey, (B) bald eagle, or (C) sandhill crane.
2. Texas' official bird is: (A) northern cardinal, (B) scissor-tailed flycatcher, or (C) northern mockingbird.
3. Turkey vultures are most closely related to (A) storks or (B) eagles.
4. The local bird with the greatest wingspan is: (A) bald eagle, (B) magnificient frigatebird, or (C) turkey vulture.
5. The fastest known North American bird is: (A) chimney swift, (B) hummingbird, or (C) peregrine falcon.
6. Which one of the following hawks does not nest in South Texas: (A) ferruginous, (B) red-tailed, or (C) white-tailed.
7. The raptor known to mimic turkey vultures is: (A) zone-tailed hawk, (B) Mississippi kite, or (C) Swainson's hawk.
8. The raptor included on Mexican flags is: (A) crested caracara, (B) prairie falcon, or (C) golden eagle.
9. What waterbird must dry its feather by wing-spreading after fishing? (A) clapper rail, (B) anhinga, or (C) mallard.
10. The wading bird that spends much time searching for food in pastures is: (A) green heron, (B) snowy egret, or (C) cattle egret.
11. What rail does not nest in South Texas? (A) yellow, (B) black, or (C) clapper.
12. What bird constructs a 5-8 foot tunnel into a river bank? (A) kingfisher, (B) dipper, or (C) woodpecker.
13. The woodpecker that spends considerable time on the ground eating ants is: (A) ladder-backed, (B) northern flicker, or (C) pileolated.
14. Found in South Texas only in winter, it is considered a "keystone" species: (A) northern harrier, (B) white-throated sparrow, or (C) yellow-bellied sapsucker.
15. The largest South Texas owl is: (A) barn, (B) great horned, or (C) barred.
16. The smallest South Texas songbird is: (A) house sparrow, (B) white-eyed vireo, or (C) blue-gray gnatcatcher.
17. The songbird that hangs its prey on thorns is: (A) oriole, (B) shrike, or (C) wren.
18. The largest Texas warbler is: (A) golden-cheeked, (B) Swainson's, or (C) yellow-breasted chat.
19. Chimney swifts are most closely related to (A) swallows or (B) hummingbirds.
20. The bird that builds a floating nest is: (A) red-winged blackbird, (B) mottled duck, or (C) pied-billed grebe.
21. What bird deposits its eggs in the nests of other birds? (A) grackle, (B) cowbird, or (C) shrike.
22. The bird that builds grassy nests in flowerpots is: (A) northern cardinal, (B) ruby-throated hummingbird, or (C) Carolina wren.
23. Which of the following birds in not a cavity nester? (A) bluebird, (B) titmouse, or (C) vireo.
24. Only one of the following sparrows nests in South Texas: (A) Lincoln's, (B) white-throated, or (C) lark.
25. The principal food of the endangered whooping crane is: (A) blue crab, (B) snails, or (C) roots.

Answers: 1 (B), 2 (C), 3 (A), 4 (B), 5 (C), 6 (A), 7 (A), 8 (C), 9 (B), 10 (C), 11 (A), 12 (A), 13 (B), 14 (C), 15 (B), 16 (C), 17 (B), 18 (C), 19 (B), 20 (B), 21 (B), 22 (C), 23 (C), 24 (C), 25 (A).

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