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    • Rick

      Members Only Fluid Forum View   08/08/2017

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Hawg

Is this a cowbird?

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It looks way to light brown to be a cowbird but I see nothing else in my bird book it could be??? I know this is a bad picture but it's the best I can do. The thing is so tame I can almost walk right up to it and it never goes away for long.

Brown bird.JPG

Edited by Hawg

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 It looks yellow in the bad picture but it's a very rusty medium brown. Definatly in the blackbird family though I think. I need a decent camera. Eye guy, you told me about a not too expensive digital camera with a good zoom lens didn't you? I don't think that's it. The ring on its back is the same rust color. 

Edited by Hawg

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Just looked up the yellow. Definitely not, no white on wings and way too yellow. And all the pictures of a cowbird on Google don't show a cowbird with the rusty colored ring on it's back.

Edited by Hawg

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Not a cowbird. We have several around here and they are generally dark-black grey and brown. The pictured bird almost looks as though it could be an immature yellow headed blackbird. Cowbirds are quite reclusive and we have been surprised they come out to our feeders, but they have become pretty regular customers. Like the deer that graze in the front yard. Last night we had the buck, doe and twin fawns and even though we talked softly to them they did not spook,  but seemed to simply acknowledge our presence on the deck and continued to feed.

And of course, as usual, the black squirrels are gathering all MY walnuts!  darn.....I just can't win. The chipmunks eat my strawberries, deer eat tomato plants and squirrels eat my walnuts.

I'm left with this old bottle of Beefeaters, a small bottle of vermouth and a few olives in a jar.  Things are tough out here in the wilderness.

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I was gonna say my yard has been thick with juvenile birds the last few days, always harder to ID birds this time of year. Had an albino something or other with a flock of birds, not sure I've seen an albino bird before. And just had a sharp shinned hawk hanging out on the branch above the feeders. 

But I feed ALL of the birds......love them raptors.

I will say the cowbirds around sure tolerate the dog or I getting pretty close to them.

 

 

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sure looks like YHBB.  open fields and swamps close by? They like to hang out where the RWBB do.  Cannon SX30IS is pretty cheap online. 35 power zoom. good for still shots. 

 

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I do live by a river and have lots of RWBB, maybe it will yellow up. That's a very distinct rusty brown ring on it's back though, I didn't see that in any of the YHBB pictures.

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From the  picture it is a male yellow headed blackbird; IMO there is even a faint white bar on the wings which may be what you describe as "the ring on its back" and the black smudge under and behind the eye.  I can't tell about the bill, but on a cowbird the bill is quite heavy;  not nearly so stout on the YH blackbird. Immature male yellow headed black birds are not so bright yellow as the adults, and there should definitely be some young of the year fledged by this time of the year.  

If the picture is not accurate then we will need a better photo to do better than that.  IMO This picture does not show a brown headed cowbird.  Most cell phones will take a better picture and if it is tame enough please post another or even better a couple more.  The more different poses the better.

Yellow headed blackbirds are almost invariably connected to swampy areas, especially those with cattail fringes.  They also tend to be around in groups, especially groups nesting in the same swamp not mixed in with red winged black birds.   The females of both species are quite drab, and quite distinct from those of the cowbirds.

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