On Reference Without Words (and Warblers)

It’s a lot harder to answer a reference question when it isn’t actually a question with, you know, words.

This weekend my mom showed me a domino pendant that she was getting ready to list on ebay (see the Affiliates section of my sidebar navigation). The domino featured an attractive picture of a yellow bird with black markings perching on a holly branch. But we didn’t know what bird it was.

Being a library school student, Mom dispatched the task of identifying the bird to me.

I started at yahoo.com doing an image search for “yellow bird” but that didn’t bring back pictures of real birds. Clusty.com didn’t work well with that query either. Sticking with clusty, I did a search for “bird watching” and was eventually led to a cluster of bird watching resource sites. Unfortunately the sites did not consist of large pictures of my bird saying “THIS IS IT” in large, comforting letters.

The second site I found had bird identification quizzes. Even though the first quiz pretty much eliminated the possibility of the bird being a Perching Bird (wrong body shape), I decide to work through four such quizzes. The Warbler bird quizzes proved more promising as these birds looked more like the bird I was searching for in terms of size and, often, coloring.

I still don’t know if I’m completely right, but to the best of my knowledge/research the bird is a Magnolia Warbler. They are attractive little birds with yellow feathers and black markings including a mask on their faces. Their birdsong is also very pretty (much nicer than a Prairie Warbler’s). However, in terms of beauty, no Warbler can compare to the Cerulean Warbler in my opinion.

Cerulean Warbler

Important Directional Note: If you came to this page looking for birdwatching resources, this post will be more helpful.

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