Yesterday I had a long, fruitful bird walk in my neighborhood. As usual, I have some questions for @lies below!

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For your raptor, the “pale” underside makes me think maybe a White-tailed Kite. But your thought that it might be a falcon makes me think maybe an American Kestrel? The standard advice on raptors is to try to figure out the broad category first (buteo, accipiter, falcon…) based on body proportions and flight style, then move on to finer details.

Hutton’s Vireo’s vocalizations are pretty distinctive, and quite different from Ruby-crowned Kinglet, so if Merlin Sound ID is telling you it’s a Hutton’s Vireo and it looks a lot like a Ruby-crowned Kinglet I think you’d be pretty safe going with Hutton’s Vireo.

Once you learn their vocalizations it makes it much easier to distinguish them. To tell the two species apart visually you want to focus on the thickness of the beak (the vireo’s beak is thicker) and the presence (or absence) of a dark bar below the lower wingbar (kinglet has it, vireo doesn’t). It can be tough to get a good look with both species being so active, so a photo can help.

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