[Mystery bird] Female Brewer's Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus, photographed at Bodega Bay, California. [I will identify this bird for you in 48 hours]
Image: Joseph Kennedy, 23 December 2007 [larger view].
Nikon D200, Kowa 883 telescope with TSN-PZ camera eyepiece 1/90s f/8.0 at 1000.0mm iso400.
Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.
Love the blog site; I've been wondering how does science become part of one's cultural daily existence. I'm not a scientist but I try to instill in my son a love for things and phenomena science.
I would venture to say there's something finchlike about the bird shown. I say it belongs to the finch family.
Wow! this was difficult for this Brit. After a lot of study and scanning all my Nearctic books the nearest I can come is female Brewer's Blackbird, the brown eyes the only reason I can give for this ID.
I agree Adrian, no doubt... female Brewer's Blackbirds (Euphagus cyanocephalus) are a dull grey-brown, darkest on the wings and tail, with a dark eye, thin and pointed bill; immature birds look like washed out, lighter-brown versions of the females, so the photo above is of a female... a cold one...!
One of my favorite birding spots is Bodega Bay. Definitely a female Brewer's Blackbird. The way the brownishness in front turns to a more slatey grey in the primaries and tail is the fieldmark I look for. There's also the short version of the icterid bill.
No quibbles with the ID, but what's up with the pale edging on the primaries? Is this an individual issue, a geographic one, or a seasonal one? We have Brewer's around here in the summer, but we don't see them in December.
i cannot answer your question, psweet, although i have sent email to the photographer -- hopefully, he will answer in a timely fashion (he's moving house, so is somewhat distracted). after i hear from him, i will be sure to post his comments.