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Central Texas bird with "laughing" alarm/mobbing call? No pictures. Also, tiny yellow bird, with picture. (2 Viewers)

Tired

Well-known member
United States
I followed some angry bluejays yesterday, and found a great horned owl being screamed at. Other birds were joining in the screaming, and among them was something I couldn't manage to spot. It sounded like what I would expect to hear from a kookaburra, if kookaburras were the size of warblers. An odd noise like someone with a high-pitched voice laughing from a bush.

Does anyone have any idea what that might have been? I can look up bird calls on Cornell Labs, I just wouldn't have the slightest idea of where to start.

Additionally, I saw this little fellow.

It was about the size of a goldfinch, which I could tell because a goldfinch chased it away before I could get any more photos or a better look. The goldfinch seemed fairly upset- it chased whatever this was across an entire yard. As far as I could tell, this little one was bright yellow all over, perhaps slightly darker on its back. Is it possible to ID from this photo? I'm assuming warbler of some flavor.
 

Indobirder

Well-known member
Your second bird looks like a yellow House Finch to me. Note the finch-like bill, and long tail.

But I could well be wrong.
 

Tired

Well-known member
United States
Oh, that's interesting, I didn't know house finches could be yellow. I looked them up online, and some of them have a startling amount of yellow, but they do look like they're more streaked than this bird. I suppose it's a possibility.

I almost wonder if this is some sort of escaped canary. I'm going back to the same spot today- hopefully I can spot it at a feeder and get a better look. I hope it's not a canary, we're set for some cold temperatures and I'm sure a canary would freeze to death. I don't know how I would catch a canary, either. Much harder to keep track of than something like an escaped parrot, and probably less likely to come to a hand.
 

Tired

Well-known member
United States
Just to double-check: this is not the same bird, right?
This is a goldfinch with somewhat faint markings. To my eye, the mystery bird has a slightly longer tail, is a different shade of yellow (though that could be lighting), and has what look like faint speckles on its breast. I don't think they're the same, but if the mystery bird looks like a yellow finch, may as well rule out this particular yellow finch.
 

Tired

Well-known member
United States
That was one of my thoughts. The Sibley doesn't show them being in my area in winter (only along the coast of Texas, and slightly inland), but I suppose it could be lost. As to the beak, the shadow makes it hard to tell what shape that actually is.

I'll just have to keep checking that area and see if it comes back. It was eyeing a neighbor's feeder before being chased away.

Oh, and I heard the laughing bird again, this time yelling at a hawk. Still didn't see it!
 

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