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Birding in your Bathrobe

May 27, 2020

The pandemic has shut down the bird tour companies. Flying is no fun and/or forbidden, no one wants to be quarantined for two weeks when you get to your destination, once there getting around may be impossible, COVID-19 outbreaks may be rampant. Problems, problems.

Time for a bird quiz, I say. Hone those I.D. skills. Refresh your memory of old feathered friends, discover new friends, visit locations familiar or new, local or so remote you’re not sure you’ve actually heard of it.

Here is a collection of websites featuring quizzes, photos, virtual bird tours, actual tour reports, hot spots, fond birding memories, rugged safaris and the infamous second ascent of Rum Doodle. Check them out; they’re all free.

Create a new life list category: Birds Seen While Lounging In Bed With Beverage And Bon Bons Nearby (BSWLIBWBABBN list).  [Chuck Almdale]

Official Bird Quizzes

These sites hide the bird name until your analysis (or wild guess) is completed.

Typical Birding Quiz question, multiple-choice style – “The best birding quiz on the web”
I can’t vouch for it being “the best” but it’s darn good and it’s completely free.
Extremely flexible yet easy to use, you choose from: 41 countries, state/province, 16 kinds of lists, multiple choice or advanced, photo fade time 1-10 seconds or no fade. It would take you days, weeks, perhaps months to run through all the quizzes and permutations.


************************************ – “A bird identification web site”
Slideshow quizzes, pop quizzes, beginner, intermediate & advanced levels; 18 North American family quizzes, 24 specific location quizzes. Fun and easy to use.

A small portion of the BirdQuiz family options


Cornell eBird Photo & Sound Quiz

You have to be an eBird member to use this, but that’s free.
Cornell eBird has options other than its famous world-wide listing and search capabilities, among them this quiz. You can make it hard, local, worldwide, a particular date, photo, sound, etc. I think some of the quiz photos are there as a sneaky way to get us to help them identify the bird, as the last one I looked at was a distant photo of a portion of the upperside of an outer wing sticking up from the other side of an ocean wave. No body, no head. At that point I decided to write this comment. Potentially quite challenging.

Bird Tour Companies

These websites have widely varying features in addition to the requisite trip reports and upcoming schedules. They want you to go birding with them! I’ve traveled with some, not with some others, but no recommendations are made here as to the quality of their trips (my experiences have all been good). They just have some quizworthy or otherwise interesting things on their websites. I’ve put them in rough order of (IMHO) quizworthiness, photography and general interest.

Cheepers! Birding on a Budget
Birding tours worldwide
Click Photos from our Tours. Almost 100 photos will appear, each click-linked to a gallery of dozens of photos. This is probably the easiest-to-use tour company photo gallery with an enormous world-wide selection. Ideal for quizzes as the bird names are hidden, revealed by placing your cursor on the photo.

Cheepers! – Each photo leads to dozens more.


Tropical Birding – Worldwide Birding & Photography Tours
Tours worldwide, not all in the tropics
Virtual Tour videos: Ten so far, 25-45 minutes each, a good look at where the tour goes and what they see, lots of bird photos.


Field Guides Birding Tours
Tours worldwide
Virtual Tour videos: 3-9 minute slices-of-birding-life. 23 so far, domestic and abroad.


Victor Emanuel Nature Tours (VENT)
Bird tours worldwide
Virtual Tour videos: 3-9 minute slices-of-birding-life.
Leader’s Messages & Memories: Their favorite birding moments. Steve Hilty’s 5/20/20 missive on Bolivia will blow you away. Listed in rightmost column.
Victor’s Bolivar Peninsula Journal – Sitting out the pandemic on the Texas shore with birds galore.


Wilderness Travel
Worldwide adventure, nature and (some) birding tours
Videos: Dozens of 2-10 minute YouTube slices-of-touring-life.


Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Adventures
Bird tours worldwide
Oh the places you’ll go! – Dozens of tour photos
Image of the Month – Stunning bird photography. Click on the photo for a description, and on the year for additional photos. Sign up and get a mouthwatering photo delivered to your inbox monthly.
Support Your Tour Leaders – The pandemic put all their tour leaders out of work. At Rockjumper they’re selling artwork in various sizes for varying amounts. Polar bears, Birds-of-Paradise, Tigers, Trance Dancers, 16 more.

Rockjumper images of the month for Jul-Sep 2019.   I.D. on the website.


Birdquest – “The Ultimate in Birding Tours”
Their news & reports page has hundreds of trip reports (36 pages, 10 per page). Click a report, then click the PDF Tour Report below the title. Zillions of photos.


Partnership for International Birding (PIB)
Over 100 tours worldwide using local guides.
Choose a region (Africa, Asia, etc.) then a country. The tour information will appear with a few photos, below which there will be a slide show. Put your cursor over the photo and the name appears. While away the hours.


Wings Birding Tours Worldwide
Birding tours worldwide. Sunbird handles their Old World tours.
Click on their Tour Index, select a region and a tour, scroll to the page bottom and watch the Slide Show. If you don’t look at the captions (or scroll them off-screen) you can ID the birds yourself. Then add them to your BSWLIBWBABBN list. Great fun! And super-cheap.


Sunbird Tours
The European branch of Wings.
Their website is laid out just like Wings, but they call it the Gallery instead of Slide Show. Rack up some exotic birds!


You gotta go to Iran to see this bird.

BirdTour Asia
As the name implies, they specialize in Asia from India to Japan. Click Reports, then choose any of the 18 area tabs, and 1 – 20 trip reports will appear. This may be the only company that has been to Iran.


Cheeseman’s Ecological Tours
Worldwide safari, photography & birding tours
On the main page, select Destinations and an area. Scroll down to the trips and select one. When that opens, scroll down to the Photo Gallery and click that.


High Lonesome BirdTours
Originally Alaska specialists, but now run bird tours worldwide.
Click Trip Reports, select a report, and click one of the various links that will take you to the report, a PDF file which contains text, photos and the trip list.


Manakin Nature Tours Colombia
Colombian Specialists
At home page click on Bird Tours, select a tour, click on the photo, and a trip report with a slide show of about ten photos will appear, with additional photos alongside the trip report.


Rubythroat Birding Tours
Central Asian Specialists
From the main page click Tours, scroll down to a tour and click Learn More, then scroll down to the Photo Gallery. Sometimes the photos are embedded throughout the trip report. On the Trip Reports page, click a photo on the right; photos are embedded throughout the report.  Sometimes the birds are identified, sometimes not. But they’re all central Asian, hard to find elsewhere.


Eagle Eye Tours
Bird, wildlife & photo tours worldwide
I could not locate any significant cache of bird photos but I included them here in case anything changes.

Other Photo Quiz Opportunities

10,000 Birds
Blogs, commentary, trips, equipment, reviews and photos
From the main page right side click Galleries, then scroll down until you see an interesting topic (e.g. Goliath Heron). You’ll see a collection of photos and commentary about the topic bird(s). Not terrific for photo quizzes, but interesting.


Photo: Joe Pender, from his website
Check that wicked-looking bill

Joe Pender Wildlife Photography
Antarctica? Here you are.
Just scroll down. The region is a given, but the birds are not identified. Just like in real life.


Wild Side of Matthew
Over a dozen trips, each with many photos, all identified. Great photography. Too bad you’ll never see any of these birds as clearly as in these photos. After seeing these, you’ll either feel challenged to take better photos, or decide to give it up altogether. According to Matthew, the State Bird of Delhi is the House Sparrow.


Mostly Birding
Don Reid’s Adventurous Birding, Atlasing and Travel in Southern Africa
Don’s chosen territory encompasses Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. His many bird photos are buried within his many reports. Check in the Categories on left side of screen for: Birds in the Lens, Bird Photography, Birding Events, Birding South Africa, Birding Spots, Birding Trips and Special Birds.



One Comment
  1. May 27, 2020 6:07 am

    What a treasure trove!Thank you for compiling and sharing this with us! Sincerely,Enid HayflickNewport Beach


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