Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Please tell me what these birds are ...

This morning, as I was leaving for work, I spotted four beautiful birds in a neighbor's tree. Ran back and grabbed my camera, even though I knew that I wouldn't be able to get a clear picture with the Rebel XT's kit lens (EFS 18-55 mm). Oh for a telephoto lens! One had flown by the time I got back. I've gone through my Peterson's Field Guide, but can't identify them. Could someone please tell me what they are?


T. Beth said...

Here's what I see:

Medium slender, mostly straight, pointed bill

Dark bill, wings, tail, and undertail coverts

Medium long tail

Golden brown breast

Good-sized birds, not tiny

Travel in flocks in the winter

My best (but very tentative) guess is that they are female and/or immature Brewer's Blackbirds (Euphagus cyanocephalus) or female and/or immature Great-tailed Grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus). Here is a page with photos of both and a photo of a female Brewer's Blackbird.

Pam in Tucson said...

Based on the group photo taken in Imperial County, my vote's for the female or immature Great-tailed Grackle. The birds were quite large. The color's closest to what I saw - just glowing golden in the sun. This is the only photo I've seen that is close.

We have innumerable Common Grackles around here. I'll have to look out for the Great-tailed. My knowledge of birds is embarrassingly sparse.

Thanks so much for your detective work.

Pam in Tucson said...

My friend Sue says they're female Boat-tailed Grackles. Internet images confirm. Thanks, Sue! We see Great-tailed Grackles every day, but I don't ever remember seeing these before.