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No it's not a golf ball with feathers but I bet many birders won't be able to identify this bird. Give up? Tune in tomorrow for the answer!

Image: Bob Levy [larger]

24 hours later, the answer is below the fold;

Bob Levy, the photographer, writes;

It is a newly fledged Northern Cardinal. And when I say "newly" I am not kidding.

I must have come upon this critter shortly after it emerged from the nest. By its appearance it is possible the babe's entry into the outside world (that is out of the nest) might have been a tad premature. I found it calling on the ground under a shrub. Mother Cardinal was near and watched her feed it several times.

As an extra added bonus to the experience I later watched and listened to the mother sing along with her mate who was about fifty away. This may not seem so impressive unless you know that adult females sing much less frequently than males. I have only caught sight of a female singing a handful of times over the years and this is the first time I was able to verify that both adults were singing at the same time. One sang and the other repeated the same phrase. It would have been nice to know which bird was singing and which was responding but I was so taken by the sight of the female singing eight feet away from me that I was not paying close enough attention. For those who understand Northern Cardinal their tune went something like "petoo, whit, whit, whit, whit, whit." I would love to have an English translation. But seriously folks, I am fairly certain that their song had something to do with the two Blue Jays that were also calling to one another close to the mother and child.

More like this

Brown Thrasher? The plumage color looks good.

i also received some quesses by email ...

Is it not a House Sparrow?



Brown Thrasher? ...

Nah, the beak is too short still...



"petoo, whit, whit, whit, whit, whit" is a phrase often uttered by female cardinals in the presence of birders. It translates more or less as "Hey, look! Paparazzi!" The male often replies "petoo-ah, week, week, week" which means "Comb your hair, Margaret!" (or Louise -- it's hard to tell the names apart)

By rob rachlin (not verified) on 25 Jul 2007 #permalink

I especially appreciate the translation. Petoo, whit, whit, woo to you too and many thanks!