It is a pity that the Pipits have
No diagnostic features
Specific‘ly they are the least
Distinctive of God‘s creatures
For naming any one you need
Five measurements, together
With a drawing of the wing tip
And the length of every feather.
Count the spots on breast and back
Be sure of which the sex is;
Make a picture of the pattern
Of the one-but-outer rectrix.
Pay extravagant attention to
The hind claw‘s confirmation,
Note „weak and long“ or „curved and strong“
(Or „snapped in preservation“).
And when you‘ve marshalled all the facts,
No matter what their sense is,
If the bird was caught in Europe
It is, ten to one, pratensis.
B.P. Hall 1961