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Orchard Oriole? Monterey, California, USA (1 Viewer)


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I saw this bird today at Laguna Grande Park in Monterey, California. I am fairly sure it is an Orchard Oriole, but am curious if anyone sees anything different in it. The bird was larger than nearby Yellow-rumped Warblers, but its size was hard to judge because its tail was reduced to a very short stub. I am not sure if this is the result of normal molt or of some misadventure. The bird was solidly lemon yellow below. It was a dark day and all of my photos showed a dark bird against a dark sky. I have brightened each one with photo editing software, but the result produces a color more orange-yellow than the bird appeared in life. I never got a very good look at the upperparts, but the wings were dark with (it seemed) a single wing bar. They also looked like they might be in molt, however. The bill looks oriole-like, though rather thin. Any thoughts?


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It is definitely an Oriole. The odds that this is a rare Orchard Oriole are relatively high, due to 2 factors -

1. There is one known to be at this park
2. It is getting late for usual species of Orioles to be around.

Neither of the 2 factors above are enough to confirm anything of course. From these photos, there is nothing visible that is diagnostic in separating it from a Hooded Oriole as far as I can tell. I am looking at the bill size and shape and speculating on it myself, but I have to remain uncertain for now.
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Thanks. Looking on ebird, I see that on 23 October the Orchard Oriole that has been at the park for some weeks was photographed missing most of its tail, so this is surely the same bird. Looked very odd with that short little tail.
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