Pleasant surprise…Evening Grosbeaks and some newly identified birds from years ago

After seeing the same old birds in the yard, day after day, I noticed something different today….a bird with yellow on it was under one of the feeders in the front yard…. quite different than the Blue Jays.   I got up, took a closer look and lo and behold….a small, mixed flock of young and old Evening Grosbeaks.  Thanks to the trees in the yard, they were in the shade and rather far away, but I took some pictures anyway, just for documentation.  These birds do visit the yard from time to time, but we’ve never had more than a pair and they rarely stay long.   A few years ago, though, a male visited the yard several days in a row and was almost taken by an adult Sharpie….the Hawk didn’t get its talons into the Grosbeak well enough to nab it.  The Grosbeak lost quite a few feathers, but managed to fly off.  It did return to the yard, but like the others, it did not stay here.  The flock today barely stayed for 10 minutes before gathering in the trees, chirping away and then they were gone.   Here are a couple of pictures….

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The birds with the yellowish backs are the youngsters and the more colorful are the males,  still in breeding plumage…basically a greenish bill.

Then, there’s this bird that I recently found out is a Bronzed Cowbird.  While looking at some pictures from a past trip to the Southwest, I came across a bird that I had labeled as “unknown”.  While looking through Sibley’s for a Common Grackle, I happened to go to the page for Cowbirds  and there was one with a red iris….aha!  My unknown bird!  It wasn’t a Blackbird or Grackle at all.  I use the Internet a helluva lot more now to find bird IDs, while back then, I didn’t.   So, here’s the Bronzed Cowbird, taken at a Wildlife Refuge in April 2007.  I still don’t see any bronze on it….why not call it the Red-Eyed Cowbird…..or, since this a male, which has a more prominent ruff, why not call it a Ruffed Cowbird.  If you check Sibley’s, there is absolutely no mention whatsoever about the color bronze….for the Eastern female, the color is “blackish overall” and for the Western male, “glossy blue wings contrast with darker body”, which happens to be black.  Now I wish that I had taken more pictures of this bird with a side view of those pretty glossy blue wings.

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SLB….there is absolutely nothing wrong with your pictures….you do very well with the gear you have, and considering the fact that you walk to most places to go birding, you manage to see quite a few birds.  As you are aware, habitat influences what birds you see, and I know you have a variety of habitats in your area…the coast, bushes, trees and, yes, even lampposts…so it’s possible to see a lot of different birds.  It’s also nice to welcome back the birds that stay there for the winter….just like seeing old friends who return to FL each winter….like Terry and me….I’m certainly eager to get back, especially since temperatures have fallen through the floor for the past two days…..BRRR!!

DaLo….always enjoy reading about the Whooping Cranes and I had the same thought you did….those human Whooping Crane wannabes look like members of the KKK.  I cannot imagine having any Hawk land at my feet….but it must have thought there was a snake nearby….nice picture of those red shoulders.  The Vermilion Flycatchers are still being seen in different areas….The Everglades and the Orlando area, too.  There is no doubt in my mind that you should reach your goal of 200 birds…..you’ve got more than two months to find five more birds….good luck!   Not sure, but have you managed to find a Red-breasted Nuthatch yet….they seem to be invading FL this year.  I”m stuck at 181 for the year and somehow doubt that I’ll even get to 190. 

Oh, those Sparrows….as many as I can recognize, there are even more that I don’t.  I recently was able to ID a Sparrow from the 2007 trip…a Lincoln’s….here’s a picture, which I believe shows its ID features….and why I don’t think Jenn’s bird is a Lincoln’s.  Do you know the ID of the Sparrows you posted…..plus, who did the Sparrow drawing?  You?

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SLB….I like the way you’ve organized this page, but I must admit that I seldom go anywhere but the home page, scrolling down to read any post that I’ve missed after an absence.  Still, if I want to go back to look at an older post, it’s nice to know that it’s easily done…..so, here’s my opinion….leave this the way you have it….it works for me.

Now I’ll see if the title works for this post……

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