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Old Tuesday 3rd August 2010, 23:12   #1
ilisten
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Brown bird at feeder?????

Hi,
I'm new to Bird Forum and have been seeing a brown bird at my feeder in western North Carolina, low mountains, meadow area for the last few days.
I can not identify it no matter where I look.
It has lighter feet and legs (not black) a short lighter colored bill (not black and not a thrasher), is about 7 inches (much bigger than a goldfinch) about the size of a towhee but not quite as bulky, has no eye ring, has some black feathers on its back and a short inconspicuous bar of white on its wing feathers that lay across or close to its back. When it flies there are distinct white tail feathers on each side like a mocking bird's tail. The bird is close to that size as well but distinctly BROWN, no chest or belly stripes or white. We saw 4 together this moring and have looked eveery where for this bird's name. We thought it might be a wheatear but it is absolutley not that either.
Can anyone help me? It is not a bobolink and not a female redwing blackbird.
All help appreciated.
Thanks,
ilisten


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Old Tuesday 3rd August 2010, 23:49   #2
cavan wood
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Could it have been a juvenile towhee?
http://www.butterflyonmyshoulder.ca/...owheeB2755.jpg

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Old Wednesday 4th August 2010, 00:01   #3
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Scott beat me to it but take a look at this image as well. A bad shot but caught it quickly w/o time to adjust settings.

http://www.pbase.com/kcfoggin/image/114838198
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Old Wednesday 4th August 2010, 16:54   #4
Larry Lade
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Sounds like the above may have "nailed down" the ID for you.

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Old Wednesday 4th August 2010, 17:21   #5
ilisten
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reply to brown bird at feeder responses

Hi All,
Thanks for trying to help me. The young towhees are cute but definitely
not my bird. Also too much black.
This is a full grown bird, 7 inches at least, well feathered and mostly a rich brown not like cinnamon red, but not like a cat or cowbird either. It is darker than the Rufus Towhee but the color is rich like that.
I watched it again this morning and I can say that it has a light colored beak, style like a towhee, robin, mockingbird, light feet and legs, black or very dark brown tail feathers with white that flashes on each side when it flies (like a mockingbird). The white on the wings is very small and like little half inch bars on each wing as it lays across the back. Almost non descript. NO eye ring. No markings other than the little bit of white, and the darker color at the wings and tail. This bird is so much like a towhee in size and manner that I could make up a new species "North Carolina Brown Towhee" and very like a mockingbird "North Carolina Brown Mockingbird". It is the size of these 2 birds, about 7 inches.
It eats from the feeder and off the rail and deck, and I have seen it eating peanuts. If there had not been 4 of them yesterday, I would have thought it is a female and I just do not have female pictures in any of my bird books. Now I think it could easily be the male. I even looked for migratory bird from other areas and can not find this one.
Did a google search for photos of brown birds, male and female. Nada.
Have spent hours trying to name this new visitor.
Any other thoughts????

Last edited by ilisten : Wednesday 4th August 2010 at 17:24.
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Old Wednesday 4th August 2010, 18:17   #6
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Take a digital photo and post it. Even a reasonable cell phone photo will do.

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Old Thursday 5th August 2010, 00:05   #7
ilisten
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Thanks Scott. I will try to take one tomorrow morning with our digital if we have the stuff with us to transfer it to the computer and then I can upload it. If not I'll try the iphone and pray for bars. lol
This bird may not be easy to catch for a pose. tends to be skitish and leave the feeder if interrupted but will stay a good while if it doesn't get anxious.
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Old Thursday 5th August 2010, 00:15   #8
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Have you considered Dark-eyed junco? A Junco is the same body-shape as a Towhee, but a little smaller and the white tail sides are diagnostic.

The slate-colored subspecies is the common one in your area, and Sibley illustrates a brown variant. It would be more commonly a winter bird - but perhaps an early returnee?
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Old Friday 6th August 2010, 19:00   #9
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Brown Bird at Feeder????

Thanks whooping crane about the junco thought.
This bird is larger than a junco by a lot. It is the size of a towhee or cardinal. I have noticed it when both of those birds are around. It is a good 7 inches. I got a shot of it today and I need to tell you before you decide it is black, that it is TAN with black on the aft wings and top of tail. The white that you see in the picture is a trick because it was just starting to fly. You NEVER see the white except for a tiny half inch to 1 inch bar on each wing as it sits still and NEVER at the tail until flight. The color is almost cinnamon but not that red, and is tannish buff in the sun, ABSOLUTELY NOT BLACK. Beak is also light in color like the feet and legs.
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Old Friday 6th August 2010, 19:46   #10
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I think your bird is probably an adult, female Eastern Towhee. Photo of towhee from "google" images.
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Old Saturday 7th August 2010, 03:59   #11
cavan wood
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It is definitely an eastern towhee. I don't see any rust in the flanks at all so I'm still going with the juvenile. It may not look exactly like the two links you looked at earlier, but juveniles can look very different depending on which juvenile feathers have been molted etc.

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