Identify features of yellow bird which

Field guides seem crammed with similar-looking birds arranged in seemingly haphazard order.

Identify features of yellow bird which

Winter is finch season, when those northern nomads sweep down in raiding parties, show up without warning, stay for an hour or a week, and disappear.

They are movers, unpredictable, edgy, always peeking over the horizon.


The very inconsistency of finches is one of their greatest attractions. For most bird watchers, there is a spurt of adrenaline when the feeder is suddenly commandeered by evening grosbeaks or pine siskins, or when crossbills put in their not-quite-believable appearance.

Chickadees and juncos and downy woodpeckers carry their own brand of pleasure, a comfort born of knowing they are always there, but it is the unexpected that brings a smile to our faces. There are one or two exceptions, just as you would expect from the unexpected.

Yellow Warbler Identification, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

House finches are ubiquitous and predictable, showing up regularly at nearly every feeder on the continent. Goldfinches, which have their own society and movements, can almost be counted on to appear at certain seasons.

Perhaps it is because we see them so irregularly that many of the finches make us pause, momentarily stymied. What is that thing? Sure, five years ago there was a flock at the feeder for a week, and an instant submersion into finch identification, but since then, nothing.

Memory fades and becomes clouded by information and the passage of time. You know that one of them had wing bars, or streaks, or an eye patch, but which one? The pine siskin is also included here because it can be confused with the females of some of these species.

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While these species might not be terribly difficult to tell apart, they may be a bit puzzling. There is no easy way to break finches into groups for the purpose of discussing identification.

The only solution is to compare those closely related species that are most likely to cause confusion, and throw in an occasional caution about unexpected similarities. These three are the ones that cause the most identification problems for bird watchers.

All three species can be found at the same feeders in some parts of North America, and they look almost alike. Originally native to the West, eastern house finches started as a fairly small population.

As sometimes happens in a limited gene pool, small variations in plumage can spread quickly.

Identify features of yellow bird which

As a result, it was fairly common a decade ago to see house finches in the East with big white patches in the wings, a widespread partial albinism. It has died out to a great extent, but it is still possible to find a house finch with white in the wings, and observers should be on the lookout for those individuals.

A similar outbreak of partial albinism has occurred in the Pacific Northwest in recent years, although it does not seem to be as common or widespread. In the East, the problem is simpler because there are only, house and purple finches to worry about. Both males and females are fairly easy to tell apart if you get a decent look.

A side-by-side comparison of a male purple finch left and a male house finch right. Illustration by Julie Zickefoose. Many male house finches are pale red, and those are even easier to recognize. The most distinctive difference is that male house finches are streaked with brown on the sides and belly, and the streaks seem to run right into the red on the breast.

Male purple finches are white on the belly, with broad red blotches coming down onto the flanks. Females Females are more difficult to identify, but are still fairly distinctive. Female house finches are basically plain brown birds.

Their underparts are light to medium brown, with blurry brown streaks not much darker than the color of the breast.

The head is brown with brown crown streaks; the back is darker brown with blurry brown streaks. The female house finch is a plain brown, streaky bird, more apt to be mistaken for a sparrow, or a female indigo or lazuli bunting, than anything else.

Avian Anatomy

In comparison, female purple finches are contrasty brown and white birds. Their underparts are white with bold, contrasting brown streaks. The head and upperparts are dark brown, with a strong pale eye line and a contrasting pale whisker streak.

This head patterning is quite unlike that of any house finch. In invasion years in the East, purple finches may reach the Deep South in large numbers. For the most part, however, they are considered something of a special bird anywhere south of the northern tier of states.

They might join house finches at the feeder sometimes, but the house finch is a very domineering species; if there are a lot of house finches around, the purples rarely stay long.A dinosaur fossil unearthed in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia shows that miniaturization, a hallmark of bird origins and a necessary precursor of flight, occurred progressively in primitive dinosaurs (Credit: F.

Ippolito, American Museum of Natural History). Avian Anatomy. As an avian veterinarian, I often use words like choana and cloaca, and when I do, I can easily visualize in my mind exactly what these body parts look like, and it's hard for me to realize that often, the owner doesn't understand what I'm's take a learning tour through the bird, both externally and internally, so that bird owners will have a better idea of the anatomy.

Update: The Alabama yellow cardinal has shacked up with a red female cardinal in the yard where it was originally spotted.

After raising at least one chick, the couple now seems to be nesting again. (This is typical for the species.) You can follow along on their Facebook page, created by Charlie.

Directions and More Information about Cienega Creek On a cool monsoon morning Tucson Audubon team has arrived at Cienegas Creek in Vail to conduct a Yellow . North America has more than 50 species of warblers, but few combine brilliant color and easy viewing quite like the Yellow Warbler.

In summer, the buttery yellow males sing their sweet whistled song from willows, wet thickets, and roadsides across almost all of North America.

The females and immatures aren’t as bright, and lack the male’s rich chestnut streaking, but their overall warm. Recommended Bird Books: Though web sites are helpful, it's much easier to learn how to identify birds by studying good books.

There are so many available now, it .

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