This forum is for asking questions and providing answers on bird identification. New and visiting birders are encouraged to ask and participate.
By Nigel
I had a couple of silent dowitchers which I would like some help with. The first I found today at Robert Lake and based on this location I think it is probably a long-billed on migration (Sibley).

Long-billed Dowitcher (plse excuse the quality)

The other I found in Carcross, YT on 9 May this year. Since this is the breeding range for the short-billed (Sibley) I am calling this guy the short-billed.

Short-billed Dowitcher (slightly better quality, but just as I was getting close a peregrine swooped thru and it was gone).

Truly looking for some help in distinguishing these two species!!!

By birdergirl
Hi Nigel,

Isn't Carcross such a cute little town?! The second photo looks good to me for a Short-billed Dowitcher but unfortunately the quality of the first photo doesn't give enough field marks to make an accurate ID !

Without hearing them photos have to be really clear to pick out the distinctive features!

Here is an article that to me is the best at explaining the differences between both dowitchers in the field in all plumages: ... chers.html

By Nigel
I tried the loral angle trick as outlined in your article Mel and obtained:
Carcross dowitcher 21 deg which agrees with your id of short billed.
Robert Lake dowitcher 15.7 deg which suggests a long billed. However there is some inaccuracy even on the significantly enlarged picture.
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Alright, thank you very much for your expertise!