Amusing Image Search Screwup

Earlier today, I did a Bing ‘Image’ search for “juvenile Smith’s Longspur”.  While looking through the results when I came across the following item (the full page has been cropped around the item of interest):

Bing Search Goof 1/3

There are two problems with this result.  First, the picture of a Bewick’s Wren is mislabelled as a Clay-colored Sparrow. Second, why is this part of the results for a search for “juvenile Smith’s Longspur”?

Normally I ignore bogus search results but this double-goof got a hold of my curiosity.

The wren/sparrow image was associated with a URL at marymoor.org so the obvious thing to do was to check out that web site. Doing so led me to a page with the following section that I cropped from the full web page:

Bing Search Goof 2/3

The image above the wren picture is in fact a picture of a Clay-colored Sparrow and the caption is half-way between the sparrow and wren pictures. The Bing application that ‘scraped’ the images from this page clearly did not know how to find and attach the correct caption.

One puzzle solved.  That leaves the second question as to why the longspur search showed this picture in the first place.

Looking further on this page I found the following at the very bottom:

Bing Search Goof 3/3

Aha!  Clearly, having one picture of a Smith’s Longspur on this page causes every picture on the page to have an association with “Smith’s Longspur” in a search query.

Puzzle 2 solved and two thumbs down for Bing.

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