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Watching The Birds


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#1 Marblehead

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 12:49 PM

I have identified another mated pair of birds that have been feeding at my place (and probably nesting somewhere in the area).  My bird-watcher friends might not believe this but they look exactly like Scarlet Rosefinches.  Yes, I know, they are supposed to be in Northern Europe area but this pair must have gotten lost or perhaps there is another species that looks exactly like this one.

 


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#2 Marblehead

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:26 AM

So anyhow, more bird talk.  I wrote this up a couple days ago on the other forum I am a member of. 

 

 

I watched an interesting event take place today I will share with Y'all.

There are two male Greyjays that visit my gardens. Mostly they eat cat food and drink water from the bird bath. I have never seen one take a bath in the bird bath.

There has been another bird, don't know its name but mostly black feathers with some brown on the wings and back interlaced with dark green iridescent feathers on its back, that comes over regularly to get a drink and take a bath. I have never seen it at the feed area.

Anyhow, while looking out the window this afternoon, the black bird comes over, gets a drink then takes a bath. One of the Greyjays saw it and flew to the bird bath, perched on the edge and watched the black bird taking a bath for about a minute then flew off.

As soon as the black bird left the Greyjay returned to the bath, perching on the edge. It hopped around the bath one and a half times, at each hop putting its beak in the water. Then it jumped right in. At first it just stood there but gradually got itself more and more wet. He ended up having a really nice bath after figuring out what to do.

Beside being cute, this was a perfect example of an animal other than humans that learn from observing others doing. And these were totally different species of birds.

 

(I have since identified that black bird to be a Brewer's Blackbird.)


Edited by Marblehead, 23 April 2013 - 01:28 AM.

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#3 Stosh

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 03:49 AM

The Gray Jay (Perisoreus canadensis), also Grey Jay, Canada Jay or Whiskey Jack,[2] is a member of the crow and jay family (Corvidae) found in the boreal forests across North America north to the tree-line and in subalpine forests of the Rocky Mountains south to New Mexico and Arizona. It is one of three members of the genus Perisoreus, the others being the Siberian Jay, P. infaustus, found from Norway to eastern Russia and the Sichuan Jay, P. internigrans, restricted to the mountains of eastern Tibet and northwestern Sichuan. All three species store food and live year-round on permanent territories in coniferous forests.

 

Maybe they are Scrub jays? ( known as being very smart birds with interesting social structure)

The other pink ones are likely house finches ( sometimes yellow instead of pink on males ), there is also  possibility of purple finch,, they do look extremely similar.

 

Brewers blackbird is certainly a possibility, though they tend be north of you, central florida and north.

there are several birds  that look very similar though. I Cant guess by description alone. Look at the beak and irridescence color carefully .

 

Contrary to what my own considerations were , birds can be very localized in their habits , going to within yards of last years haunts (even though one figures they fly all over the place , which they may , just not very randomly )


Edited by Stosh, 23 April 2013 - 05:44 AM.


#4 Marblehead

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 12:39 PM

I had to look up the ScrubJay before responding.  Nope.  Not that.  True same body and size and appearance but mine have no blue whatever.  Basically just shades of grey.

 

For sure the finch is a scarlet red color on the male; strong on the head then fading into brown toward the tail.  Yesterday I did notice a red splotch just before the tail feathers that is mostly hidden by the wings when not flying.  The female (I'm assuming) is just plain shades of brown.

 

On the blackbird the green on the back is a certainty.

 

I am pretty sure that the Cardinals, Sparrows & GreyJays spend the entire year in this area. 

 

And I agree, I need to pay more attention to the beak and eye color more.  (Picked up on that the last couple days while trying to ID those last two birds.)

 

Pigeons have been coming by far too much recently.  I need to figure out some way to minimize their visits without harming them.  Maybe control the times I put food out and how much I put out.

 

Anyhow, it is nice seeing the many different species even if I don't ID them properly.

 

Thanks for your input Stosh.


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#5 Stosh

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:08 PM

The easy ways to gain certainy is to either post a photo here for me, or on flikr biird identification help group. Truly those folks really are amazing even wth a crappy photo. I still post some pix for them to check myself on new species till I am familiar.
Grey jay shaped birds incude two mockingbirds and gray catbird. The dark one may also be brownheaded cowbird.The red on the rump is still consistent with the two finches but..
The differences are subtle enough to be difficult to communicate without visuals, and the details are fine enough between similar species to render recollection deficient until one has become familiar. All Ican offer is likely candidates. Youve got to make the final call unless you can get pix..My policy is not to count a species without a pic that can be disproven..but that is just my quirk . Like you said, seeing new and nifty ones can be enough too.

Edited by Stosh, 23 April 2013 - 05:17 PM.


#6 Marblehead

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 12:09 AM

Yeah, just seeing them is enough for me.

 

I didn't mention that I did move the feeder and bath since we talked about getting pictures of them last year.  Now, if I take the camera out with me I could get some nice pix.

 

Now, I will confess that "my" Greyjays could be either of the two above.  I haven't tried to compare my mental image with pix on the net.  Hehehe.  They could easily be catbirds because they like to eat the food I put out for the cats.

 

I haven't seen the blackbird for a few days now but the weather became cool and wet (rainy) so it likely hasn't needed a drink or bath.

 

All the birds that look like sparrows are going to be "sparrows" even though they might be wren or finch.  If it looks like a sparrow it will be a sparrow.


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#7 joeblast

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 03:30 AM

nice - I call my front yard "kitty TV" - hopefully the hummingbirds find their food, too :D



#8 Marblehead

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 10:28 AM

nice - I call my front yard "kitty TV" - hopefully the hummingbirds find their food, too :D

Yeah, Kitty TV is a good name for a bird garden.  (None of the cats that eat here are "mine", so to speak.  They are neighbors or strays.)

 

I haven't seen any Hummers this year yet.  I did move their food too.  I'm pretty sure they will be around as soon as the tropical plants start blooming, especially the Coral (Mexican) Creeping Trumpet.


Edited by Marblehead, 24 April 2013 - 10:30 AM.

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#9 Marblehead

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 02:32 PM

Change that on the hummingbirds.  I was sitting outside around 5 pm and up flies a hummer, right to one of the feeders and then it was gone.  Faster than the eye could see.  Well, almost.  But too fast to try to identify.


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#10 Marblehead

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 02:27 PM

Well, today brought something new.  I normally watch the birds.  Seems that one Brown-headed Cowbird fell in love with himself.  He spent the better part of the day around my Honda looking at himself in the mirrors and windows.  I have no idea what was going on except that maybe he thought it was another bird.  But all day?


Edited by Marblehead, 26 April 2013 - 02:28 PM.

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#11 Stosh

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 01:01 PM

All day seems excessive , maybe he is narcissistic. . I think I read somewhere that they lay eggs in warbler nests so it seems odd that one would be so territorial....but them tiny birds fly under the radar of science in many ways. I find that nifty. Little tiny enigmas.

#12 Marblehead

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 03:53 PM

All day seems excessive , maybe he is narcissistic. . I think I read somewhere that they lay eggs in warbler nests so it seems odd that one would be so territorial....but them tiny birds fly under the radar of science in many ways. I find that nifty. Little tiny enigmas.

Funny.  He was doing the same thing today.  A problem I was having with his antics was that where he stood to look at himself in the mirror was on the door right at the window and he was pooping on the car.

 

I got a couple shop cloths and covered the mirrors.  That problem solved as he can't look in the mirrors anymore.

 

Yes, Apech indicated that they lay their eggs in warbler nests so your reasoning about territorial would seem to be sound.

 

Strange things, we animals.


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#13 Marblehead

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 08:59 AM

Okay.  Let's consider the possibility that my Scarlet Rosefinch is a yearling male Cardinal that is changing from its juvinile brown to its mature red color.  I think that this is more likely.  I have always had Cardinals in my area and last year there were a couple mated pair hanging around.


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#14 Stosh

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 03:57 PM

That certainly could be it too. Up here they are underway on the breeding thing, so it all would fit . The titmice already are out of the nest ! So they are quite a bit ahead of the game. Not a week out of it and they already scolding humans. Gutsy little tikes..gotta love em.

#15 Marblehead

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 02:24 AM

Yeah, I still see the breeding cycles here because I do actually have the various seasons although they are quite different from up north.  I have no trees in my yard so they don't breed here where I can see them but there are lots of trees close by.

 

No new species lately but it is still fun watching the greyjays come up to eat from the cat food bowls.


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#16 Marblehead

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 09:40 AM

Well, the male Cowbird is no longer admiring itself.  His girl-friend came back so he is spending his time with her.  That's what it was all along - he was looking for her - apparently he thought his image was her.

 

I saw a new Greyjay trick this morning.  One of the males was on the electrical wires and he would jump straight up, flapping his wings then come back down, exactly on the wires every time.  He chirps while doing this so I guess he is proclaiming territory.

 

I was one Hummer one time yesterday and zip, it was gone.  I hope they start hanging around; they are such beautiful birds to watch.


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