PDA

View Full Version : Need help with Bird ID



Andromeda321
2005-Dec-21, 07:21 PM
Ok I finally made it home for break today :dance:only to discover there is a new type of bird at our feeder that I haven't seen in all the years we've had one. I also didn't see him in our little birding book and I discovered it's kinda hard to find an image of a birdie when you don't know his name, so I was wondering if anyone here could help me out.
Details: I'm in Western Pennsylvania and said bird is about as big as a sparrow length-wise but deffinetely bigger overall. His top is black from head to tail while his bottom stomach area is white, and his wing is rusty brownish orange. He also has a touch of white at the tip of his wing.
Thanks everyone! :)

Swift
2005-Dec-21, 07:46 PM
My joke response is what is Bird Intelligent Design and didn't they rule that illegal in Pennsylvania? ;)

My first reaction to dark on top and light on the bottom was a Junco (http://www.birds.cornell.edu/BOW/DEJU/) - some of them have some orange, but those are mostly the western subspecies. Juncos are almost always ground feeders, was it on the feeder or on the ground below the feeder? Ohio/Pennsylvania is actually where they come South for the winter, they spend their summers in Canada.

R.A.F.
2005-Dec-21, 07:48 PM
My joke response is what is Bird Intelligent Design and didn't they rule that illegal in Pennsylvania? ;)

Darn it, Swift...you stole my joke. That is he first thing I thought also...:lol:

turbo-1
2005-Dec-21, 08:00 PM
What you got there is your garden-variety Rufous-sided Towhee. He's probably got some kind of physical problem if he's hanging around that far north with the cold temperatures we've been getting in the northeast.

Jim
2005-Dec-21, 08:14 PM
What you got there is your garden-variety Rufous-sided Towhee. ...

You mean, this? http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/rufoustowhee.htm

(Nice looking bird. About all we get here are sparrows, doves, pigeons and the occasional blue jay or cardinal. Sometimes we get humming birds.)

LurchGS
2005-Dec-21, 08:29 PM
Lessee... ID depends on desired parameters. From the description 'bird' we know (by common use of the word) you want this thing to fly. Gonna need wings and tail.. feet...

but wha KIND of bird? what will it eat? what flight system will it use (soar? hover? flap and coast?) what kind of eyes?

[edited) figures I'm not the first to have this idea. I really should occasionally read all the way through a thread before I pop off with an answer

Andromeda321
2005-Dec-21, 08:34 PM
Yep, that's him turbo. That would explain why he's all by himself; it's not uncommon for our feeder to have 20 birds so it's weird if one species doesn't have at least another of the same kind there.
Btw I just realized I do know the bird because during the summer you can hear the "drink your tea!" call nonstop. Just never knew towhees were the ones that did it.
Poor little guy though, I hope he makes it! :(

Lance
2005-Dec-21, 08:46 PM
I do know the bird because during the summer you can hear the "drink your tea!" call nonstop. Just never knew towhees were the ones that did it.
Is it this: Rufous-sided towhee s2 (http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/htmwav/h5870s2.mp3)? I hear that all the time and thought it was a Red-winged Blackbird call (http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/htmwav/h4980so.mp3).

Andromeda321
2005-Dec-21, 09:38 PM
My sis was looking over my shoulder at the time when I was posting here and that's what came up when she Googled the bird (which is also known as an eastern towhee apparently). So unless someone wiser than me can confirm that... what we usually hear doesn't actually sound much like either clip but if I had to pick it'd be the towhee one as I don't think I've heard the blackbird one.

Lance
2005-Dec-21, 09:55 PM
There were several clips on the Bird Call Page (http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/songwav.html) but hat was the only one that sounded even remotely (to me) like "drink your tea". Perhaps it's one of the others.

Rufous-sided towhee c (http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/htmwav/h5870ca.mp3)

Rufous-sided towhee s2 (http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/htmwav/h5870s2.mp3)

Rufous-sided towhee (http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/htmwav/h5870so.mp3)

turbo-1
2005-Dec-22, 01:22 AM
My sis was looking over my shoulder at the time when I was posting here and that's what came up when she Googled the bird (which is also known as an eastern towhee apparently). So unless someone wiser than me can confirm that... what we usually hear doesn't actually sound much like either clip but if I had to pick it'd be the towhee one as I don't think I've heard the blackbird one.You have to be careful with bird songs, since birds develop evolving regional dialects that are not as well-documented over time as we might like. Also, the birds camping in your yard during the summer will have some well-developed territorial songs that are not expressed at all (or perhaps only in a general fashion) by migrating birds "passing through".

The redwinged blackbird song is not one that you would hear regularly unless you are near swampy/reedy areas where these birds nest. They are quite agressive and noisy, especially when crows are about, so you would probably have noticed their predator reactions as well.

Also, if you are feeding birds, you should know that you may have multiple flocks rotating through your property daily. I have several feeders of suet and black oil sunflower seeds positioned under the eaves of my house. Depending on which flocks are around, I can stand out front with a handful of sunflower seeds and have one or two chickadees at a time perched on my hand, busily picking out the "best" seeds, which they retire to the oak tree to eat and return OR I can be standing there coaxing in the scardey-cats, with most of them sheering away just before touchdown. It's neat to have a nuthatch hover next to your hand, picking out the perfect seed. It's better than neat to watch that same nuthatch come back and land on your hand and totally accept you as he selects his next meal. Well, maybe not totally, because often they emit a quizzical "cheep" just before they land. I'd like to know how to respond, but so far a soft voice seems to work OK.

Trebuchet
2005-Dec-22, 07:48 PM
Is the towhee actually on your feeder? We get them regularly out here but they're ground feeders and tend to clean up what the other birds drop. I'm not sure I recall ever seeing one actually eating directly from the feeder.

By the way, the original junco guess was not so far off -- I think they're fairly closely related.

Andromeda321
2005-Dec-22, 08:51 PM
Yeah he's just on the ground and in the bushes usually, though we have a pretty wide platform where the feeder is so I've seen him momentarily perch up there (but not eat).
We get juncos too, for the record, and I always thought they were one of the cuter birdies. :D