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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Central/South Texas bird- Grosbeak-style bill, yellowish-orange overall, scattering of ringlet feathers on breast. (1 Viewer)

Tired

Well-known member
United States
DSCN4829.JPG

Seen just yesterday. I... don't know what this is. Overall I'd guess maybe 1st year Blue Grosbeak, but those little feathers with the ringlet patterns are throwing me. Waiting near some feeders at a bird conservation park, with a mix of scrubby forest and long grass nearby.
 

Butty

Well-known member
Got any other photos, especially showing the head or body from the side? If I believe the photo, I'd go for rufous-buff rather than yellowish-orange(!). Guess the 'ringlet feathers' are water drops? Blue grosbeak seems to nail it.
 

Tired

Well-known member
United States
I have no other photos, I didn't register at the time that it was anything strange. I thought the ringlets might be droplets, but if you look closely, they definitely aren't.

I've had another couple of people suggest Scaly-breasted Munia juvenile, and that does look right. This is presumably one that was hatched in the wild, but I wonder- were its parents escapees, or descended from escapees?
 

Tired

Well-known member
United States
So now my question is: do I count this on my list? They've been present in the area for at least a decade now, and are seen semi-regularly. They're certainly breeding; nobody bought this drab little guy at a store anywhere. The reason I'm hesitant is, apparently finches are sometimes released at weddings for luck, so I don't know how much that might be contributing to the population.

Maybe I need a separate list of birds of dubious countability.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
If you submit to ebird, you should include this observation. Keeping tally of introduced species also has value.
Niels
 

Tired

Well-known member
United States
I should clarify; I mean my year list. From what I understand, a nonnative species can be counted if it's part of a population that's maintaining itself without human intervention or additional escapes. Currently it doesn't seem to be possible to tell if this population is self-sustaining, since it could very likely have wedding finches periodically added.

I will put this on EBird, though.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
I should clarify; I mean my year list. From what I understand, a nonnative species can be counted if it's part of a population that's maintaining itself without human intervention or additional escapes. Currently it doesn't seem to be possible to tell if this population is self-sustaining, since it could very likely have wedding finches periodically added.

I will put this on EBird, though.
Ebird have started to roll out a new system for Exotic species. These will now be placed into three classes, two of which will count for your ebird year list and the third will not. Once this is established you should be able to return to your checklist and see which of the three classes this observation is placed in. That should be able to help you with a personal decision.
Niels
 

rkj

Well-known member
You can put whatever you like on your year list - I have known people that included Emus they saw in corrals in California. If you want to follow ABA rules, however, you are probably right that this is not countable.
 

Tired

Well-known member
United States
Well, that just seems like cheating. May as well go to a zoo and start listing birds. Or a pet shop!

I might start a new list of questionable birds, for ones that seem to be establishing themselves but probably don't quite meet the requirements yet. There's feral peafowl in my general area that I think would also fall under that category, though those are far less likely to have much supplementation going on. And I plan to see if I can spot any, what are they called, Red Bishops? in Houston at some point. Cute little things.
 

raymie

Well-known member
United States
Well, that just seems like cheating. May as well go to a zoo and start listing birds. Or a pet shop!

I might start a new list of questionable birds, for ones that seem to be establishing themselves but probably don't quite meet the requirements yet. There's feral peafowl in my general area that I think would also fall under that category, though those are far less likely to have much supplementation going on. And I plan to see if I can spot any, what are they called, Red Bishops? in Houston at some point. Cute little things.
There are lots of established peafowl populations all over the US, including many in Texas (you're in Texas, right?). Those are probably countable as well. The bishops (formerly Orange Bishops, now called Northern Red Bishops) in Houston would qualify as well.
 

Tired

Well-known member
United States
I am in Texas, near Austin. There's evidently a peafowl population in Austin that's been there for decades, and I'm fairly sure releasing peafowl at weddings isn't a thing that's done on a regular basis. I keep meaning to go and see them, partly just for novelty value. They should be much easier to spot than the bishops, at least!

Looking at Houston via INaturalist, I'm also seeing Red-vented Bulbul and Pin-tailed Whydah, plus Mute Swan, Helmeted Guineafowl, and Ring-necked Pheasant, not to mention a lot of other single or double sightings. Is there a good way to find out whether a bird is at least likely to be countable, a site that keeps track of them or the like? Or am I better off tracking down things like how long the species has been spotted in an area and whether there's any trend in the numbers?
It looks like I might have to organize a "none of these species belong here" birding trip, maybe some time in the Spring when most species will likely be in breeding colors.
I suppose being such a big city lends itself to a lot of escaped birds? And/or maybe all the swamp is helping.
 

D Halas

Well-known member
If you want to follow ABA rules, then the list you should go by for sightings in Texas is the Texas Bird Records Committee list:

 

raymie

Well-known member
United States
Here's the official ABA list of what introduced populations countable. There are certainly lots of things that should be on this list that aren't, but everything that is on this list is absolutely countable:


I don't think releasing finches at weddings is as common as you think, and they're usually European Goldfinches or Bengalese Finches.
 

Tired

Well-known member
United States
Here's the official ABA list of what introduced populations countable. There are certainly lots of things that should be on this list that aren't, but everything that is on this list is absolutely countable:

Very useful, thank you. Good to know the Egyptian Geese are countable, we have some of them locally.

Since the munias in Houston are apparently countable, I think I'll count this one. Maybe it or its parents blew in from Houston, maybe they're spreading a little.

Hawai'i has a number of interesting birds, that are not at all meant to be there. The Red-crested Cardinals are everywhere. I'm planning on going again at some point, to see the fish, enjoy all the plants, spot as many endemics as I can, and take advantage of the interesting introduced species.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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