Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Gone Away is the Bluebird

As a birdwatcher, it is always exciting when I spot something I've never seen before, especially when it comes to my feeder. This past week, I noticed a new visitor.
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Sorry about the quality. I was shooting through a foggy window. At first, I mistook it for a female goldfinch. But a closer look made me realize that the beak was all wrong. Finches have pale fat, seed crushing beaks. This was a bird I had never seen before!
As luck would have it, our homeschooling nature class had just done bird identification. I called the kids to the window to see if they recognized it. No, they didn't. We would need to do some research. We pulled out our three field guides and started looking at mug shots. By this time, the bird had flown away, and since I didn't think to take a picture that first time, I had to rely on my memory. I used a site called What Bird? I highly recommend this site if you've taken a picture of your bird or have an excellent memory. Having neither, I hoped the bird would come back.

The next time it came to our feeder I was ready for it. The picture above was one of several shots I took. With the photo as a reference, I THINK I've identified it as a yellow throated vireo. I welcome other birders' opinions if you know what I have here. Any way you look at it, I have one more bird for my life list on E-Bird.

We love our regular visitors as well. This hawk was sitting in a tree across the street today. I hope the squirrels are careful.

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dana said...

We got a flock of mutant goldfinches. I took a bunch of pictures and puzzled over whether they could be juveniles. It has been awhile since goldfinches had come, but these were mixed in with a flock of goldfinches. They were the size of goldfinches. They were the color of goldfinches. But they had streaked breasts.

And I thought I'd get to name a new species. Or a goldfinch/house finch hybrid. But then I realized they were pine siskins, a new bird for us!

Yours does look like our goldfinches to me, but I don't have any good winter pictures now that my husband purged my files. Here is one I found online, but it is hard to tell with a picture through a foggy window. You would know better having seen it! But their beaks are darker in the winter, at least around here.

Principled Discovery

flmom said...

Thank you for passing along the What Bird site. I have it bookmarked as I have a feeling it will come in quite handy when we do Apologia's Flying Creatures next school year.


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