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Small Yellow Mystery Bird - Wisconsin USA

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Old Monday 20th May 2019, 13:16   #1
EntropyStoat
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Question Small Yellow Mystery Bird - Wisconsin USA

Hi!

I've got feeders in an urban area of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but this year I have been getting a crazy array of birds I don't expect to see in the city. Most I have been able to ID, but today I had a small bird I can't find a matching pic of in any of my bird books, or online.

It is May 20th, and we're having an overcast and damp day in the 40s. I feed black oil sunflower and niger/thistle in a spot with a lot of brushy cover (mostly lilacs, buckthorn etc) nearby, and I have a water source.
This little bird has been exclusively on the ground at the base of the feeder, and has a posture I would describe as wren-like when feeding: head forward and tail up, with the wing tips pointing down a bit past the lower edge of the body. It's a bit bigger than a goldfinch, and more slender than the sparrows.
It is a dark gold-yellow (similar to a female goldfinch) with delicate light-brown stripes on the crown and a breast that appears to be white with brown striping. It might be the reverse, as the amounts of white and brown are near equal, and the stripes are very fine and well-defined (not streaky).

I can't find this bird anywhere! Sorry I don't have a photo. I can't get a good one through the window.

To give an idea of what else is at the feeder and hanging out in the area: goldfinch, house finch, grey catbird, rose breasted grossbeak, yellow throated vireo, nuthatch, chickadee, rufous sided towhee, at least 4 species of sparrow, cardinal, downy and hairy woodpeckers, pretty sure I had an immature red-winged blackbird... we've got a great community of birds for the city.

Thanks for any help you can give!
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Old Monday 20th May 2019, 13:27   #2
Seth Miller
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My guess is Pine Siskin.
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Old Monday 20th May 2019, 13:36   #3
EntropyStoat
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The body color is much more solid yellow/gold than the siskin. The sides/wings are fairly solid colored, no striping. It only has 4-6 stripes on the head, pretty much on the top, and those stripes are continuous from what I can see. The brown on white striping is exclusively on the breast. I would almost describe it as a pinstripe pattern - long, fairly continuous stripes. Or at least, that's what it looks like from viewing distance.

I'll keep stalking the feeder with my camera...

Last edited by EntropyStoat : Monday 20th May 2019 at 13:43. Reason: more info
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Old Monday 20th May 2019, 13:46   #4
Seth Miller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EntropyStoat View Post
The body color is much more solid yellow/gold than the siskin. The sides/wings are fairly solid colored, no striping. It only has 4-6 stripes on the head, pretty much on the top, and those stripes are continuous from what I can see. The brown on white striping is exclusively on the breast. I would almost describe it as a pinstripe pattern - long, fairly continuous stripes. Or at least, that's what it looks like from viewing distance.

I'll keep stalking the feeder with my camera...
Any pictures would be helpful. :) It's amazing how hard it can be to think of a bird that fits descriptions.
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Old Monday 20th May 2019, 13:50   #5
EntropyStoat
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Yeah, I figured I was on an uphill battle without a photo... If all else fails, I'll try sketching it haha
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Old Monday 20th May 2019, 13:57   #6
Seth Miller
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Originally Posted by EntropyStoat View Post
Yeah, I figured I was on an uphill battle without a photo... If all else fails, I'll try sketching it haha
There are people on BirdForum that are WAY better at bird id than I am so I wouldn't be too surprised if someone comes up with the right bird. :)
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Old Monday 20th May 2019, 16:04   #7
EntropyStoat
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Here's the best photo I could get with the screen in the way. The light makes the bird look browner than it really is. The main color is very much like a female goldfinch's head.
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Old Monday 20th May 2019, 16:07   #8
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ovenbird

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Old Monday 20th May 2019, 16:10   #9
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Yes, an Ovenbird.
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Old Monday 20th May 2019, 16:10   #10
Seth Miller
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ovenbird

James
Agree
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Old Monday 20th May 2019, 16:39   #11
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Yes, an Ovenbird.
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