An Unknown Bird. Poor Photos. Just Need an ID

Please ignore the multiple postings of this bird. There is a glitch in the hitch of my blog. I have labored over a Monarch butterfly post off and on for weeks and those photos have doubled and tripled as well. I have deleted and begun anew until I am sick of it all with the Monarchs. So these birds will just stay. I have no idea what to do about the glitch. Maybe it will go away. Or maybe it is what it is- whatever that might be. πŸ™‚

I am going to blame my posting of these dreadful bird photos on Andrew Hardacre who suggested this post. πŸ™‚

I took these photos in September through a window screen. I was desperate to get some photos of this bird since I knew not what he/she might be. So I did what any self-respecting bird and nature fanatic would do. Just shoot through the window screen and hope the ID field marks are good enough to identify the bird.I have looked in Sir Google and all my field guides and I just am not smart enough to figure this one out. I’ve been away from birding for about 20 years. Actual in the field birding, so I am “out of tune” and off-key by more than I care to admit.

If anyone “knows” this bird, leave a comment and I hope my face does not acquire too much red. πŸ™‚

I’ve searched and researched and the best that I can do is to call this a subspecies of the Bullock’s or Baltimore Oriole. There are two sub species. I.b. bullockii and the other is I.b. Parvus. The other possibility is that this bird is a hybrid and according to literature the hybrids molt at least twice before the next spring. It also might not be possible to give this bird a positive ID if it is a subspecies.

I just wish that I had hired a carpenter to take the storm window off before fall migration. I had wanted to remove the screen but the entire outer window has to be removed. There is another window that “goes up and down” in front of the storm window. I plan to get that done soon since this is a window for optimum viewing and thus acts a perfect place to set up my little ole canon 60D with its el cheapo 200mm lens.

unknown bird    September 10,2013

Unknown bird September 10,2013

9/10/2013  Unknown bird

9/10/2013 Unknown bird




Photographed through a window screen. September 10, 2013

Photographed through a window screen. September 10, 2013


30 thoughts on “An Unknown Bird. Poor Photos. Just Need an ID

  1. Val says:

    Yes, it does look like a Wagtail, but it isn’t – the head markings are wrong and the tail isn’t long enough. I think it definitely is a female Balimore Oriole. We don’t have them here but I had a look at the larger image on Wikipedia and it’s quite clear: And I temporarily copied one of your photos above, popped it into Photoshop and did a little adjustment on it for you to even out the shadows so that you can see the feather pattern higher up the wing near the shoulder. I’ll email that to you then will delete it from my computer.

    Curious beak. It’s partly stubby like a finch but also has enough of a point to get small insects. WIkipedia says they mainly eat “insects, berries and nectar, and are often seen sipping at hummingbird feeders.”

    • Val, thank you for finding a pic in “Whock-a pee-de-a” that looks virtually like the one that I posted. I agree that it is a female Baltimore Oriole now that I see a good pic to use for comparison. I have no idea why that one pic has a finch like beak for the other ones have a non-finch beak. Perhaps the light made it appear that way. Those were all of the same bird.

      Val, you are truely a bird person. You would be a wonderful person to lead a field trip if you ever became interested in “birding” with other people. I no longer “bird” in a group and when I was young I led field trips now and then. I was good at it but have lost my touch, I think to some extent but do enjoy birding by “ear.” Now I just need to get that screen removed so that I can take some decent pics from the window.

  2. chatou11 says:

    That little bird is so sweet Yvonne but of course we don’t have him overhere. I did not reed all the replies and I hope to know his name by now.

    • Chantal, thank you for commenting. According to my blogging/emailing pal, Val, who is so smart and is an artist and knows how/where to go for ID has said the bird is a female Baltimore Oriole and I think, probably a young one. Two other people had said it was a Baltimore Oriole.

      Below is the link for the pic of the bird which looks virtually identical to the bird that I photographed. Val sent to to me. Val is not currently blogging and working on her art. She lives in Wales and has been a wonderful friend and is a wealth of information for WP.

  3. Office Diva says:

    Fairy Blogmother: What you have here is a Beady-Eyed-Yellow-Bosomed-Skinny-Beaked-Nosy-Parker-Saucy-Tailed Worm Raptor. No wonder you didn’t find it in the books! This is a magical bird hanging about your bird pond, so instead of taking pictures of it, try capturing it and plucking a feather (must be yellow). On the next full moon wave it at the sky a few times, break an egg over it and burn some incense, then make a wish. Your new camera lens will surely appear next to you on your pillow the next morning. πŸ™‚

    These are pretty keen photos through the screen—-mine through the screen darkly are never this good. I like the one where he/she is standing on one foot, as if to say, “What, no heater in this swimming pool? I think not!” The yellow in the tail feathers is so bright in that photo!

    I am so behind on WordPress, here’s one down, a billion to go! xoxoox


    • Thanks so much Fariy Blogchild. I am immensely pleased to learn the complicated scientific name of the dag blum/gum bird. Thanks for being the smart one that you are. Yes, I know the feeling of being behind on WP. Common decency dicates that one replies to comments since it is the reader who bothered to stop and put foth an effort to comment.Therefore I answer all comments even though this time around I’ve been tardy due to more pressing issues all in the name of lazziness.

      I aim to have that storm window removed but I’m afraid that room will then be very cold. That window makes a perfect blind/hide for viewing and photographing birds.

  4. sybil says:

    It’s an Eagle.

    You’re welcome.

  5. I am not much of a birder, Yvonne. The lighting makes it tough to pick out the markings clearly, but I’m with you that it is somewhere between a Bullock’s or Baltimore. The bill seems a bit stout and finch-like, but that might be the modeling from the shadows. There seems to be a developing darkness among some of the tail feathers but both species have that as adults. That’s it from me. An unqualified “I’m not sure”. πŸ™‚

    • Steve I appreciate your comment and your opinion. Yes the first pic shows a finch like beak and when I initially looked at just that one photo I thought that it was possibly a towhee. But then the other pics beginning with the second one shows a longer beak. The beak is not as long as the field guides show. I found one pic of a subspecies of the Bullock’s or Baltimore and that was the closest ID that I have found thus far.

  6. It is big bird’s cousin, Little Bird–obviously I have no idea but the photos were tremendous considering they were taken from behind a screen

    • Yep, Lou Ann. tremendously awful That storm window is still in the way but I finally found a carpenter that will remove the outer window- he says he’ll get to it soon- I hope. In the winter I won’t miss a screen that much since the flies are few and far between. Thanks for commenting.

  7. shoreacres says:

    Hmmmm…. Well, I’d bet money that it’s not a goldfinch. Those are pretty recognizable, and this doesn’t seem to be it. On the other hand, have you considered pine siskin? They’re just a bit larger than goldfinch, often travel with them and have the same seed-cracking bill. This one doesn’t have wing markings that are as distinct as what my book shows, but they still are present.

    I absolutely love the photo where the bird’s looking right at you. Alert little thing! And it is pretty. I was out in the woods yesterday afternoon and saw some of the tiniest birds I’ve ever seen. They had some of the same coloration, but they didn’t seem to be finches. They weren’t very shy, either, and I got some ok glimpses of them. I need to thumb through my book and see if I can catch a glimpse of them there. For me, trying to figure out the olive-and-yellow birds is like trying to identify “those yellow flowers in the ditch”. It can be a chore, and I’m usually wrong.

    Hope your Thanksgiving was nice. My was very quiet, but very satisfactory. My only regret is that the pecan pie’s all gone – but it’s just as well. I hear that if you eat all your calories at once, only half of them stick. πŸ˜‰

    • Linda, you are so funny. I too have problems with most of the yellow ones. This bird I really believe is a subspecies of the Bullock’s oriole or a hybrid or a first year male or a female or…. I merely say this with all of the research that I have done.

      About those tame little birds in the woods. Get a “Peterson’s Field Guide to the Birds of Texas.” It is one of the best. First you look for the shape of the bird. Then an estiamte of its size. Then bill shape, wing bars, eye rings or not, tail length, movement of the tailTop knot on the head. And of course color does matter. Was it in brush, high in a tree, on the ground, in a flock, sounds made. I could teach you birding really quickly if you were near. It is not that hard once you learn how to eliminate what the bird is not.

      Thanks for commenting. Much appreciated. Oh yes, If you get serious about birding you will need more than one field guide. Perterson’s is overall the best- at least for me. πŸ™‚

  8. If it were in the UK, Yvonne I would be tempted to say, Yellow Wagtail. But as many US birds are different I think I will stay out of this one.

    Maybe this site could help you identify the little critter

    • Thanks Mike for the input and for commenting. I will check out the link. I’ve already looked at so many sites. I’m hoping this one will offer something that I have not found.

  9. Just Rod says:

    Well that’s a tough one for me. The bill doesn’t seem pointed enough for an Oriole, more like a Grosbeak, – but the wing bars and colouring look close. I can’t tell if it has a lateral eye marking – Bullocks and Baltimore seem to have a streak from the eye. Having said that, I can’t find anything that fits the bill (sorry) any better – unless a naughty Oriole had a fling with another species…
    I’m looking forward to someone far more competent than I commenting. So glad you posted this.
    I have no idea why WordPress is spawning extra photos. What happens if in edit you select one of the extra and click the little x to delete it from the post?
    I really want to see those monarchs – better to see duplicates than none at all πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Rod for your input. The problem wtih this bird is that it did not have all the marking of a typical Bullock’s or Baltimore. I really am inclined to beieve it is a sub species of the Bullock’s or the Baltimore but I am leaning toward Bullock’s. The “lit” says that sometimes it is not possible to identify the subs. Too much variation and Bullock’s and Baltimore interbreed so then you have a variant hybrid that does not look like “him or her.”

      Theresa of TexWis girl thinks it’s a female B. oriole and I am inclined to agree with her, partially. Only I think is is a sub or a hybrid of the Bullock’s. I am pretty certain that it is an oriole unless I am just way off the mark. Look at the Bullock’s oriole at some of the sites in Goolgle. Type in subspecies of the Bullock’s and you will see that not all of them have really pointed beaks. This one was a lone bird and not part of a wave of orioles that came through.

      I will begin the Monarchs again and just leave all the extras if my blog continues to reproduce like rabbits. I just have to shake my head at some of the things that happened to me this past three years. Really odd things. Sure does test my patience and persistence. So yes, the Monarchs will be coming up. Hope to start putting some pics in there again. May take me awhile. πŸ™‚

  10. TexWisGirl says:

    based on the small flock that came thru here this fall, i’d guess a female baltimore oriole. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Theresa. Yes I think it’s a possbile female Baltimore. Not all birds are going to fit the Ids in the bird books. But I’m leaning toward a subspecies of the Bullock’s or a hybrid which molts twice before the coming spring. I just wihs that the dang screen had not been in the way. It is part of a storm window that does not go up or down (the screen). If I had tried to shoot from outside the bird would have been gone, so that was the best that I could do. Thank you for commenting and thinking that it is an oriole.

  11. Vicky says:

    I’m no expert on birds, but I agree with Lottie Nevin, It looks very much like a Yellow Wagtail to me, though I’ve no idea on the countries they are found.

    • Hi Vicky. Yes it resembles a Wagtail but the marking don’t quie jive and it did not “wag” its tail.Plus it is highly unlikey that bird would have strayed so far from its usual habitat. Thank you for your input.

      Which brings to mind that I need to get over to your blog so see if you have begun posting again. I bave not received any notices but will try to remember to look your way. πŸ™‚

  12. Andrew says:

    Well I started this and I know nothing about N. American birds but looking in my book I would plump for Baltimore Oriole. Bullock’s seems to have dark lores / an eyeline. The one thing that bothers me is the shape of the bill.The first image it looks quite stubby and finch like but in the other pictures it looks longer and thinner. It looks remarkably like our wagtails in the middle image. Photographing through glass is difficult with all the probable reflections etc – I had the same issue with my Manchurian Bush Warbler. Your photos are better than mine were for ID. Whatever it is its a good ID challenge for us all, Yvonne! Thank you.

    • Thanks Andrew. Yes, the one pic has a beak that looks finch like but that was the lens with the light doing odd things. The bird to me is an oriole but which one I might never know. When Dr. G returns from wintering in Costa Rica, I plan to contact him. He is a birding expert and perhaps he can name the species with no problem at all. Oh yes, it does look like a a Wagtail and the wing bars pretty much fit. This bird would have been quite the vagrant if it is a Wagtail. I noticed that it had sort of an unusual posture with the tail pointed upward rather than down or straight out. Do wag tails move tails up and down? This bird did not have a white eye brow as that of a Wagtail.

  13. Midwich Waterfall says:

    Hi! My call would be a possible female Orchard Oriole. I’m not entirely happy with that, but the two bars and white edging on the wings seem right.

  14. Are you sure it is not a canary that escaped from somewhere? In any case, it is free. Most times when caged birds escape they get attacked by other birds.
    Let’s hope this one will be around for many years to come. Lovely photos.

    • Gerard you are being most kind to say these are lovely photos. Did you read that I shot these photos through a screened window and that is why they are not sharp and of poor quality? But if you think these are lovely then I'll let the bird know in case it ever decides to do a repeat performance and comes back and stops at the bird bath again. I posted these at Andrew's suggestion with his thinking that some bird expert can ID it for me. Thanks so much for commenting.

  15. Lottie Nevin says:

    Lovely photos, Yvonne. I wish I could help you on this but I can’t! I’m sure either Mr H, Mr G or Mr Rod might have the answer though? It looks like some sort of wagtail/finch to me, it’s very pretty. On a totally different subject, Colin Snout is doing great, we absolutely LOVE him and he’s a real treasure – a week down the line and he’s a different dogger, confident, happy and relaxed. I’ve been chasing my tail (and his) all week but I promise to be in touch soon. XXX

    • Lottie, you are the first to respond to this post. Thanks so much. I am so glad that Colin is being the happy dog that I knew was hiding inside. He was locked up in a shelter, for I think, you said about a year so he just needed some slack to adust to loving people and a home. And that is exactly what you did for him. I bet you don’t think he is anything short of a picnic now. πŸ™‚ Poor little thing. It seems you are already very attached to him. Have you gone walking with him on leash, yet? And is he micro chipped? I hope.

      Take care. Try to stop chasing your tail lest you wear yourself out. πŸ™‚

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