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Old Jun 2, 2004, 10:56 PM   #1
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Please help me to verify or correctidentity on these birds that I photographed over the last few days. As for quality, I know they are not great shots but the point in this string is not quality but identity. I've kept the file-size small (500 pixels) for quick download. Thanks for your help. I below have posted what I think is the correct identity and then the photo. Most of these I'm pretty sure of but a few I'm not:

Female Yellow Warbler, as opposed to the male which is more yellowish

Baltimore Oriole

A Grosbeak of some sort (e.g. Rose Breasted)?

I thought it was a Magpie, then looked at the tail. This is a long tail. Edit - it looks like Magpies have longer tails than I thought.

This absolutely must be the male Yellow Warbler. It is almost impossible to photograph as it stays high in the trees, hides itself in the leaves, and rushes about like crazy. I still haven't gotten what I consider to bea successful shot of this little yellow terror! I hate this bird, yet love it.

I believe that this is a Cowbird primarily because the color, especially thebrownish head color,and thebeak looks right; it's also in the right location.

Well, that's it for now, please let me know if I'm incorrect in any of these identifications, and thanks for your help.

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Old Jun 3, 2004, 8:25 AM   #2
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I believe that is not a female yellow warbler. I've seen them before and they are moreyellow than that andall the way down the breast. Also, their beaks are black/dark. But I'm not sure what it is. By the beak size I'd say it is in the warbler family.

The second one is wrong, but I think you'll like it better. That is an Orchard Oriole, a relation to the Baltimore. I saw my first one last weekend. They are more red than orange and (I think) their heads are a darker black. Don't quote me on that last part, though. I like the Baltimore a bit better (the orange/black contrast is niceer) but they are nice surprise when you find one. At least up there they are less common.

I've seen rose breasted grosbeaks before (female and male), and that isn't one. There should be a dark patch behind the eye that is much larger. That is more of a streak. My guess is it's a sparrow of some kind, but that beak looks like it might be too big, so it could be something in the finch family. I'm not good at either of those, so I could be way off.

Ya, that looks like Black Billed Magpie, but I've never seen one in person... only looked it up in a book just now. The odd thing is the book picture shows a blue tint to the dark wing patch, and the same for the tail. This doesn't seem to have that, but it could be a trick of the light (a blue "sheen" when light correctly?)

I like that male yellow warbler. Good picture. They are very nice. Imagine this bird with slightly less yellow and fewer streaks. That is what the female looks like. They are the bird that makes one want to get the 1D Mark II. warblers in general move so fast you want the fastest AF lens and camera you can get. I hate it when you see one, aim at it the first time and the camera hunts in the wrong direction for focus. AAARRRRGGGGG. :angry:Drives me nuts. But you should try to get a picture of a Ruby Crowned Kinglet. Now that will drive you stright to the funny farm.

You might be right on the cowbird. Not posistive, as I've only seen the brown headed cowbird and they have a strikingly brown head on a black body. This looks to be the right size, but I can't see enough of the body to ID it.

So, give us a larger version of that yellow warbler. It looks like a good shot!

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Old Jun 3, 2004, 10:47 AM   #3
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Thanks, eric, very much for your greatinformation, especially regarding the Warbler and the difficulty in photographing it. I have no hair left from pulling it out trying to get this little yellow bolt. It's also extremely vociferous (as I'm sure you know) so it's especialy frustrating when you hear them all over the place but can't see them to take a photo. Below is perhaps the most "close-up" shot I've had to date but it's slightly out-of-focus probably because I was ignorant enough to have the aperture set at 2.8, eliminating much DOF play. Hopefully I'll be able to get a better one in the future as your comments have inspired me to focus on challenging that little guy.

PS - A Birds of Canada book, Revised Edition (Earl Godfry), has a drawing of the male and female Yellow Warbler and the female's color is identical to the above photograph, slightly lighter and less intense,so I'm still not convinced that the photograph isn't the female Yellow (quick shot of book page below)

Quick shot from book page:

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Old Jun 5, 2004, 11:18 AM   #4
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Hi Norm,

Your first bird is a female American Goldfinch. Note her erect posture, forked tail and the short angular bill typical of seed eaters. You are correct on the adult male Baltimore Oriole. The third bird is a sparrow but it would help to see a frontal view and a better perspective of the tail shape and length. It might be another Savannah or possibly a Song Sparrow. Savannahs are small short-tailed sparrows, Songs are larger with a long rounded tail and a distinctive breast spot. Knowing the location and habitat would provide important clues too.

The Black-billed Magpie is an adult with well worn tail feathers. A juvenile would have fresh feathers and some light color at the base of the bill. The male Yellow Warbler has reddish streaks in the breast and sides, whereas the females are without streaking. Note his thin bill typical of birds that eat mostly insects. The male Brown-headed Cowbird has a stout bill, less angular than finches and less thin than warblers, so by his bill shape one can correctly conclude that cowbirds are generalists in their feeding habits, taking both seed and insects.

I always enjoy your photos, keep up the good work.


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Old Jun 5, 2004, 12:21 PM   #5
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Thanks Hummer, extremely interesting stuff, especially on the beak. Now it all makes perfect sense right up to the generalist slot for the Cowbird. I have suggestions from others that the top one indeed is a Goldfinch.

As usual you offer a bundle of excellent information for us beginner birders.
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