Category Archives: Fun

Puzzler #7 (New and Improved): Rename that Hawk

Puzzlers were meant to be fun first and a challenge second.  I realized that all of that decoding to get to the answer in the original Puzzler #7 – A Hawk by Any Other Name… may have discouraged some.  So, here is a modified, more user friendly version of puzzler #7 with no decoding.  Instead, I split the post into 2 pages with the answers in ungarbled English on page 2.  So, without further ado, I present the new and improved puzzler #7.

In the table below there are some ‘old’ historical bird names for North American raptors that are no longer in common use and which you probably won’t find in modern bird books except perhaps as a historical aside.

In case you are not a bird nut, raptors include hawks, falcons, eagles, vultures and the like.  You may have heard of some of these ‘old’ names and know what they refer to.  I probably would have got 3 maybe 4 out of 10 had I had to solve this myself.

Marsh Hawk
Pigeon Hawk
Sparrow Hawk or Sparrowhawk
Chicken Hawk or Chickenhawk
Grouse Hawk
Goose Hawk
Duck Hawk
Fish Hawk
Squirrel Hawk or Squirrelhawk
Starling Hawk

Puzzler #7 – A Hawk by Any Other Name…

Note: My original puzzler #7 required a lot of decoding to get to the answers.  I have posted a new and improved version that you might want to look at instead: Puzzler #7 (New and Improved): Rename that Hawk.

Here’s something a little different.

In the table below there are two columns.  In the left column are some ‘old’ historical bird names that are no longer in common use and which you probably won’t find in modern bird books except perhaps as a historical aside.  In the right column is the encoded answer based on the ROT13 cipher (see the Puzzlers Page for instructions).  To prevent guessing by looking at the size of the answer I have added a few extra filler word to each answer.

You may have heard of some of these.  I probably would have got 3 maybe 4 out of 10 had I had to solve this without the advantage of being the puzzler author.  Feel free to post your scores but no spoilers please unless you use ROT13 to encode them.

Marsh Hawk abegurea abgznefu uneevre
Pigeon Hawk zreyva gur zntvpvna
Sparrow Hawk grrafl nzrevpna xrfgery
Chicken Hawk nalbs pbbcre funecvr erqgnvy unjxf
Grouse Hawk abegurea yvtugf tbfunjx
Goose Hawk xjnufbt aerugeba ernq onpxjneqf
Duck Hawk ybbxfyvxr-ryivf crertevar snypba
Fish Hawk juvgr-naq-oynpx bfcerl
Squirrel Hawk sreehtvabhf Unjx benal ebhtu-yrttrq
Starling Hawk abcrohg jbhyqag gungoravpr

Here is the ROT13 table that might make decoding easier:

Puzzler Clue/Answer Decoder

Puzzler Clue/Answer Decoder: find a coded letter in the table and replace it with the letter above or below it in the same column. For instance “Hello” becomes “Uryyb”. Numbers, punctuation and symbols don’t change.

PS: If you don’t feel like manually decoding each clue just go to, copy the clue into the box and click the “Cypher” button.





River Otter Snacking (Video)

I finally got around to putting together the following river otter video from a short video clip that I captured last spring:

What reminded me of the video clip was a wonderful sequence of river otter pictures recently posted by a fellow member of the Fraser Valley Birding forum who is also a great photographer.

I also created the following YouTube version of the River Otter video.

The footage for the video was taken in Town Centre Park in Coquitlam, BC.  We’re not sure how the otter got into “Lafarge Lake” (the name for the glorified pond on the site of an old quarry) however we do have a pretty good idea why he liked it there. Except during the hottest months of the year, the pond is stocked with fish for anyone to come and try to catch. For the otter, it’s a free buffet in addition to all of the yummy things that occur naturally in the pond such as the crunchy morsel with claws that it is eating in the video.

Lake Lafarge River Otter-1000837

River Otter in Lafarge Lake, Town-Centre Park, Coquitlam, April 2013. Copyright 2013, Kevin H Hood, all rights reserved.

The camera was hand-held during the recording and Adobe Premiere Elements Video Editor (version 11) was used to touch up the original footage and to publish it to YouTube.  The original sound-track was filtered to reduce background noise but was otherwise left untouched and consists of background (city) noise, a crow calling and, if you listen carefully, something that might be the sound of the otter crunching on its snack.

Lake Lafarge River Otter-1000838

River Otter in Lafarge Lake, Town-Centre Park, Coquitlam, April 2013. Copyright 2013, Kevin H Hood, all rights reserved.

Puzzler #5: Camouflage 101

When I first looked at the picture, I thought that I had totally botched the shot. The bird that I had seen seconds earlier appeared to have disappeared. A careful inspection of the entire image confirmed that I had captured enough of the bird to make an ID.

Now its your turn to find and identify the bird.


(See Puzzlers Page for Instructions)

Clue #1: Gur oveq vf uvqqra va cynva fvtug.

Clue #2: Guvf cvpgher jnf gnxra ng gur Gfnjjnffra Sreel Qbpx va Oevgvfu Pbyhzovn, Pnanqn ba Whyl 20 bs guvf lrne.


Vg vf n Ehqql Gheafgbar naq vg vf “uvqvat” whfg nobir gur jngre yvar n yvggyr gb gur yrsg bs prager.

Bird Puzzler #4: Family Affair

The fledgling bird in the following picture along with a sibling (not shown) and an adult (also not shown) were seen flitting around in some cottonwoods somewhere in Canada during the summer of 2013.

Your goal is to guess the species.


(See Puzzlers Page for Instructions on decoding clues)

Clue #1: Here is a recording of the begging calls (the continuous clicking sounds) made by the 2 young birds as they chased an adult bird through the cottonwoods.

Clue #2: Gur cvpgher jnf gnxra jvguva jnyxvat qvfgnapr bs bhe ubhfr va Pbdhvgynz, OP ba Pnanqn Qnl, 2013.

Clue #3: Lrf, vg vf n jneoyre.


The answer including a picture of all three birds can be found on the next page …

Bird Puzzler #3: Hide and Seek

I was surprised when I learned this fact about this bird-species that breeds in BC and that is seen fairly regularly in the lower mainland.  This puzzler has no pictures, videos or sound recordings – just the following piece of information:

This is the only North American migratory species that, at the turn of the twenty-first century, had not yet revealed the location of its wintering grounds.

These wintering grounds were only finally discovered in 2010 and how it was done is very cool!

Identify that bird!


(See Puzzlers Page for Instructions)

Clue #1: Gurl bsgra unat bhg arne jngresnyyf.

Clue #2: Qb abg zvfgnxr gurz sbe ynetr, qnex-pbybherq fjnyybjf.


Clue and Answer Decoder


Gur zlfgrel oveq vf gur Oynpx Fjvsg.  N tebhc bs Pbybenqb erfrnepuref gnttrq 4 oveqf jvgu trbybpngbef va 2009 naq, jura 3 bs gurz jrer erpncgherq va gur fhzzre bs 2010, gur frperg bs gurve jvagrevat tebhaqf va gur Nznmba Onfva va gur jrfg bs Oenmvy jnf erirnyrq.

Zl bevtvany fbhepr jnf gur Rneoveqvat.pbz oybt  negvpyr ol Anguna Cvrcybj: Oynpx Fjvsg Jvagrevat Tebhaqf Qvfpbirerq (uggc://rneoveqvat.pbz/oybt/nepuvirf/3602).