Hello. WhatBird is a great site. I and my family visit it often for learning, amusment, identification, etc.
We've had a visitor in our backyard for the past few days and we're not certain what he is. Of course, we immediately used the bird browser to check all breeds for our area and feel we may have a dowitcher of some sort on our hands. Of course, we're complete novices and have no idea how to distinguish the minute variances from one breed to the next, so we're hoping someone can help. According to the range map, he shouldn't even be here (if he's in fact, a dowitcher). Perhaps he got separated from his group?
We live in suburban Atlanta and have a backyard conducive to frequent visits by a dozen or so breeds -- from the occasional woodpecker to the more usual cardinal, blue jay, titmouse, chickadee, etc.
The suspected dowitcher spends his time in our yard snacking on insects or sitting still in the grass. What's especially interesting is that he does this very rythmic stepping motion as he forages for bugs. Almost as if dancing, he bounces up and down a few times before taking an actual step. Almost as if he were flattening the grass for an easier view. He can walk rather quickly (without the funny stepping) when threatened however, as we discovered while trying to sneak up to photograph him.
His markings are very similar to the sample dowitcher photos, but we couldn't find a perfect match for his color, size, etc. His beak is perfectly straight and he's about the size of a turtle dove. We haven't heard him make any noise, and he does not appear to be injured. We thought we would be clever and play the dowitcher voice recording out the window at him, but that got no reponse at all.
I uploaded two photos (of poor quality), but I'm not sure how to link them to this post (if that's even possible). They're both entitled "Dowitcher?", and were uploaded today, Oct 31.
So what is this little fellow, and what is he doing in our yard? He seems quite content, but so out of place...