Sunday, September 13, 2009

I'm Veery, Veery Sorry! Veery V.S. Gothic Oven Bird

I've made a mistake. I was wrong. Yup. You heard me. I know that sounds preposterous, but it's true. I committed a grievous error in my previous post "Last Call-Final Call." I posted a photograph of a bird I identified as an Oven Bird, but it was a Veery. This was pointed out by an observant and attentive reader whom I would thank if I actually knew who it was! I'm Veery, Veery sorry if my credibility has tanked and for the confusion and consternation I have caused. I know how seriously matters birding are for many people, especially when salient points of identifications are grossly overlooked. There is no margin for error nor forgiveness. I am planning on crawling on my knees all the way to Aspen when we go in October to visit my son. Swear I am. It will be a pilgrimage of penance for my ornithological sin. Side by side, perhaps you can see what my temptation was. The birds are nearly the same size, a close color on the back and chest with speckling about the chest. The Oven Bird, however, has a pronounced eye ring which the Veery does not . The Oven Bird also has an orange cap and stripes the length of its head which the Veery does not. The underside of the Veery is pristine white where the Oven Bird has a distinct yellow cast.   Oven Birds, a type of Warbler are in the photos on the left. A Veery, a type of Thrush is in the photo on right. By the way, the Oven Bird was given that name because its nest, made of grass and lined with hair, is dome shaped with the opening on the side resembling an oven. It is built on the ground, not in trees. I like to imagine the nests lined with the dog hair I put outside and that from my own head. I have a habit of standing on the deck in the cool air of night brushing my hair which gets caught in the breeze and carried away. Other parts of me get carried away often in my enthusiasm, also. I apologize for that, too. The Oven Bird has a two part call that sounds like 'teeeeeeeeeacher, teeeeeeeacher' and is frequently heard coming from the woods all summer. The bird is rarely seen though. Unfortunately, I've seen numerous of them in their Gothic demise, and now, sadly, I have to add another species, the Veery to my window mortality count. I think I'll go beat myself with a stick now.

To hear the song of the Oven bird, copy and paste this link into your browser:                                                                         


  1. Some birds can drive you crazy with identification. There was a period last year that every time I thought I had photographed a "new" sparrow, it would turn out to be another Song Sparrow. It was getting downright embarrassing!

  2. Thanks, Ed for sharing in the egg on my face!

  3. Contriteness and remorse count for a lot but not with those really serious birders. My heart goes out to you on the Veery situation because of course I like being wrong and having to admit it about as much as you do. But it puts me in mind of a successful run down Sugarloaf Mt. when I was about 12. I shossed up beside my friend's father and with a grin from ear to ear said, "I just skiied down without a single fall. NO Mistakes!". [He] looked at me and with his high pitched, squeaky voice replied, "Didn't learn much did you!"
    I do think on the knees to Aspen could be construed as groveling to these birding types so be careful there because even with this one slip, you are still WAY ahead of the pack.

  4. As a preventive measure to your mounting bird mortality...don't keep your windows so VEERY clean! Crawling on your knees to Aspen...FORGET about it...TOO ROCKY! Be like your beautiful birds and FLY!
    Hula Girl

  5. Hey Great Blog!!!

    Most definitely a Northern Waterthrush. The supercillium over the eye would not be found on an Ovenbird.

    Here is an interesting article published in Birder's World by David Sibley about bird deaths and windows.

    Chris Murray