Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

April 9, 2014

Foolproof Empid ID

Filed under: Birds — richditch @ 8:39 pm
Foolproof Empid ID

Foolproof Empid ID

This wonderful chart arrived in this morning’s email from a friend in NJ, who was forwarding it after receiving it from another birder …

I can’t name the genius who came up with this, so if you can point me to the original source I’d be very grateful.

The chart cleverly distills the essence of the Great Empid Challenge; to a large number of birders these birds look so much alike that separating them from each other in there field based only on visual observation borders on the impossible. Instead, we hope the bird will give its distinctive call and we’ll be able to put the correct name to it. This worked pretty well for me in my NJ days, when we could travel to the appropriate habitat and obverse the bird on territory and listen to its call. But here in AZ my encounters are almost always with silent migrants and I end up leaving them unnamed.

I’ve posted about this problem in various forms her before:

But before we decide that this chart answers all our questions about Empid Identification, consider this question from another recipient of the email conveying it:

How do we know that these birds are correctly identified in the chart?


Update: The source is a Facebook entry by Paul John


  1. According to the chatter on the ABA page: Made by Paul John, based on Richard Edden’s marvelous ID posters. More info on the original sparrow and warbler pages at the Facebook page “BirdFace”.

    Comment by Vjera Thompson — April 9, 2014 @ 9:18 pm

  2. Spot on, Richard! Before, I had to quickly drink three beers to tell a Hammond’s from an Alder.

    Comment by Wickersham's Conscience — July 7, 2015 @ 4:24 pm

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