LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bird Quiz - a Rare Bird

Have you ever caught a brief glimpse of a bird flying by, and your mind is several degrees slower than your eyes? You know you have never seen that bird before, in real life or in picture, but it went by so fast you have a difficult time identifying any features that might help. "Uh, it was sort of white" is not quite enough information.

Start with size: it was somewhat larger than a goldfinch or pine siskin, but smaller than a towhee.
Color: Mostly white with dark brown/black on the head and wings

You ponder what the bird might be and pray it will pass by your field of vision again. You watch all day and nothing appears remotely similar to the bird. Another "WOW" moment shot in the dust.

The next day you are out with the camera. You cannot believe your good fortune. There is the very bird you saw yesterday. There's no one there so you whisper, "Do you see that?" to yourself and slowly raise the camera.





You are delighted to have a couple of photographs to help identify the bird. You receive an extra surprise later that day when you glance outside and see the bird at one of the feeders!!! Unbelievable!
And, wonder of wonders...the bird returns to your feeders the next day. A few more photographs to help with the identification.
You are pretty much certain what the bird is, but (having been wrong before) you send the photographs to an expert. The expert sends the photographs to other experts. Eventually you receive an email with a dozen other emails forwarded from expert to expert about your bird. They all agree that you have a rare bird. And they are all thrilled that the bird has been seen.
And (with all due modesty), they agree with your preliminary identification.

SO...CAN YOU IDENTIFY THIS RARE BIRD?

32 comments:

Iris said...

I'm gonna guess leucistic female rose-breasted grosbeak. Am I right?

Rudee said...

I haven't a clue, but I know the feeling. So, what is it?

Dog_geek said...

No idea, but I'm looking forward to readint the answer!

dguzman said...

Oh man, Iris guessed my guess.

What a beautiful bird! I've seen regular female RBGRs, and they're okay--but this girl is fantastic!

Nice pics!

TheWritersPorch said...

I wanted you to come by yesterdays post and identify my stranger!

Carol

NCmountainwoman said...

Female Rose-breasted Grosbeak is an excellent answer, but incorrect. The bird is not as large as a grosbeak.

robin andrea said...

I can't wait to see the answer here. What an incredible set of photos.

Jayne said...

Leucistic sumthin sumthin... :c)

bandjzmom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bandjzmom said...

I think that the bird is a leucistic female purple finch.

Cicero Sings said...

I don't have a clue but I think it is great that you have such an interesting looking bird visiting YOUR yard.

Carolyn H said...

Leucistic female purple finch

Carolyn H.

Lynne said...

I'm going with leucistic female Purple Finch too.

Aunt "B's" Backyard said...

A Purple Finch with 'Angel Wings'

Dave's Bird Watching Blog said...

It's the same bird that laid the mystery eggs on my blog that I never told you about! :-)

NCmountainwoman said...

Yes, my clever friends. The bird is a leucistic Purple Finch. Of course, I named her Leuci.

The grosbeak answer is a very good one, since you didn't have the advantage of seeing the size. The beak is also a bit more typical of the Purple Finch rather than grosbeak.

Now we are famous in the local birding community not only for our Red Crossbills, but for our rare leucistic Purple Finch.

Shellmo said...

I see the guesses have already been made - but what neat photos! She is a beauty - lecistic or not!

The Zen Birdfeeder said...

Cool post and lots of good comments. Seeing the bird in a different "coat" sure makes you observe the other features like size, shapes, beaks, facial patterns, etc. Nice job!

The Birdlady said...

Shoot - I got here too late to show off! She's a real beauty!

Barb said...

This was fun - I would definitely have to leave it to the "experts!" However, I really enjoyed your pictures and the other comments. I can see I'll learn a lot here.

dAwN said...

Good I didn't have to guess...tee hee..
I would have had no clue..
Great looking bird though..
You are famous...do you have all the birdie groups coming by...
Make a pot of coffee..
I will be over early tomorrow morning..tee hee

Leedra said...

Don't have a clue, but you sure have me excited with you. Waiting to see what you have captured.

Leedra’s Photos For FunLeedra’s Greeting CardsPhotography By Leedra

TSannie said...

Half albino sparrow? (And not a nonsense answer - there are many accounts of birds that are partially albino.) Curious to know what he is!

TSannie said...

BTW - Just added you to my blog roll - can't believe I haven't done that already!

Mary Isabella and Kiley too! said...

I do not know but I do know he is beautiful!!

Sue said...

I don't have a clue, but I LOVE your pictures!!

fishing guy said...

Carolyn: It is great that you got all the photos to ID the bird.

Cheryl said...

I have just read your answer.....how wonderful to have a rare bird......I can almost feel your excitement....

It is a beautiful looking bird....I have never seen anything like it......leucistic purple finch......

CountryDreaming said...

Beautiful little bird. I admire those of you who felt confident to make any identification guess at all. I never would have thought of a leucistic female Purple Finch in a million years on my own. Beautiful shots of this awesome winged treasure!

Bird Girl said...

It really looks like a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak and not a purple finch to me - but hey - what do I know - I get NEITHER!!! Very cool capture, Carolyn! You are on the ball!

Nick S said...

Wow ,that's very cool. We had a Yellow House Finch in the yard yesterday :-)
There is actually a partial albino Robin in a park for the 2nd year in a row here in town too !

Iris said...

That's excellent! Of course I'm annoyed with myself for getting caught up in the facial pattern and missing the finchy beak, but whatevs. That's a great sighting!