Friday, December 19, 2008

Wickedly close, but no Flicker yet

At least I think I came close.  I saw a flash of red fly over as I was focused on my neighbor's feeder yesterday, hoping to get lucky.  It was a bit larger than I was expecting, but it settled at the top of a pole, and I felt it must be a Flicker.  Just as I got my camera lined up, it flew off.  I still wasn't sure, until I blew up this bit of its tail feathers, the only tantalizing bit captured.  I do think it was a Flicker.  Maybe tomorrow.
I did have fun photographing other birds.  I know this is a Finch, although I'm not so sure of its exact name.  
And I think this is a Starling, although according to one site, it should have a yellow beak.  Mabye it's a Grackle?
I'm not sure what this is, but its silhouette looked elderly, cold, miserable, and sort of sadly bearded.   
Song Sparrow?  House Sparrow?  Tree Sparrow?  Well, I think the sparrow part is correct:)  Chubby little thing.  I wonder if it's fluffed up to stay warmer.
And a tenuous link to the rest of the post, but I liked this decoration hanging in the window at the downtown Wicked Cafe yesterday afternoon.  The connection?  Don't groan.  Starling? 
And an aside: Apart from the great lattes, I think I respond to The Wicked's slightly rebellious attitude.  


  1. Yes, that looks like a flicker bum to me (based on experience with our flicker friend).

    I've never seen a spotted grackle. Ours are black with deep blue heads.

    We have all sorts of fat little birds hanging out in our garage to keep warm. I don't know what they are, but I like to see them perched in unlikely places.

  2. Definitely a flicker butt in that first shot. They are quite a large bird - about 12 - 14" - and multicoloured with a grey top to the head, red crown, black bib, tan face, speckled belly.

    I think you are right on the starling. The finch is a purple finch, by the looks of it.

    About this time you should also start to see the varied thrush which looks like a large robin in convicts stripes - black bib and black mask on orange, and orange stipes on crown and wings. They can often be seen on the snow picking up the seeds from under the feeders.

  3. Thanks, Jean! Now, I have another bird to watch for:) Will let you know if I see the varied thrush (and the flicker, of course)

    dp, I think young grackles are spotted. At least they were in Ste. Agather, Que. Only intuition to go on (and now Jean's expertise) but I still think the one in the pic is a Starling, wrong color beak or not.

  4. Oh, Carol, I should have mentioned that a starling's bill changes colour - it is yellow in spring and then gets progressively darker through winter, changing back to yellow in the spring.

  5. You're right, I liked the bird photos! Nice to learn some of their names... I'm really bad at bird names, I think I've been calling the little fat ones chickadees. Do we even have chickadees out west? I'm not much of a bird-namer but I am a bird-admirer!

  6. Yes, Mali, we do have chick-a-dees. I am very far from an expert, but it seems to me, most of them have black, or at least dark, caps. They're also a bit tinier than the sparrows. Bird admirer is what I would call myself as well. That's where it starts, don't you think?