[Tweeters] Options for photo IDs

Jane Hadley hadleyj1725 at gmail.com
Mon Dec 7 13:17:50 PST 2015

Bill Dewey asked for help identifying a bird he photographed in New
Mexico. I also believe that it is a Canyon Towhee.

Several people raised questions about whether Bill's pictures matched
pictures in their field guides.

I wanted to suggest that one helpful option for matching bird photos is
Google Images. If you go to https://www.google.com/imghp and type in
"Canyon Towhee," you'll be shown scads of pictures of Canyon Towhees
(plus sometimes other birds thrown in thanks to the vagaries of the
algorithmic approach). You can even search by sex, age and season:
"female Hooded Merganser" or "Juvenile American Robin" or "basic plumage
Golden-crowned Sparrow," for example.

When I did the "Canyon Towhee" search at Google Images, I saw that the
Canyon Towhee sometimes shows a crest (5th picture on the first row).

Another sometimes helpful option is Cornell's Merlin Photo ID. This is
at: http://merlin.allaboutbirds.org/photo-id-help/

I ran one of Bill's photos through this program and it did identify it
as a Canyon Towhee. However, this program is in "Beta" right now and is
somewhat hit-and-miss in its accuracy. Still, I've found it to be fun to
try and easy to use.

Jane Hadley
Seattle, WA

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