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Sarasota News Leader May 31, 2013 Page 76 mine the truth from what remains, however I assure you that this is a bill of a different color! improbable." Habitat, behavior, size, shape, color and season (i.e., breeding or non-breeding): These are the criteria you need to consider. You cannot go by "blue beak" alone or you will end up with the fabled phoenix and make a featherless fool of yourself; but keep the blue beak in mind as a final identification clue. By the way, the correct term for a bird's beak is "bill." I know people are not very fond of bills, but Now, let us sequentially filter the little information we have: 1) Habitat (and time of day). The bird wades on the shores of the bay, Gulf and ponds while fishing in shallow waters. This eliminates waterfowl who dabble and dive for fish in deeper waters, such as the male Ruddy Duck, whose bill is a lovely blue during breeding season, as well as the Common Loon, whose beak has A phoenix drawn by Friedrich Johann Justin Bertuch, completed for Bilderbuch für Kinder. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

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