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      Whatbird Forums Rules   01/08/17

      'Help Me Identify a Bird' rules: When posting a new thread, please: 1. Read the FAQ and forum rules before posting 2. Include the location in your Post when seeking ID 3. Include the date of the sighting 4. Provide a photo or detailed description of the bird Forum rules: By posting in the WhatBird forums you agree to the following board rules: 1. You will be tolerant and respectful of your fellow members 2. You will not spam 3. You will not post sexually explicit, vulgar or racist material 4. You will not advertise or sell products 5. You will not discuss illegal activities 6. You will keep topics of religion and politics to a bare minimum 7. You will not take advantage of chat to break any of the above rules. 8. Members will not discuss homosexuality nor make any comments about others' sexuality. Breaking any of these rules may result in a suspension or a permanent ban from the forums!! Furthermore, anyone who causes continuous dissent and disarray in the forums will be banned as seen fit by the forum moderators under the pretense of "trolling." Gallery photos: Regarding photos in the Whatbird gallery, please keep in mind that the copyright belongs to the person who took the photo. So please do not use any of the Gallery photos without requesting permission from the photographer. Forum Photos: If you use photos other than your own, please place a link to the referenced photo and do not post other photographer's work directly.
    • Aveschapines

      Found a baby bird or a sick or injured bird?   07/11/17

      Here is a short article with advice for what to do if you find a baby bird or one that appears to be sick or injured. Bird rescue article Please feel free to post here if you have questions or need more help.
Curious Bird

Need help identifying grey, crested bird

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At my feeder today (1/6/18) in Benedict canyon just north of Beverly Hills CA, is a finch sized grey bird with a grey prominent crest. Darker solid grey on upper part of body and lighter solid grey underneath. No spots or streaks.  Except for a distinctive white line edge to his wing. Because he came and left so quickly each time, I'm not positive but I think he has a wedge shaped, seed eating beak.  I believe he took only the nuts from the feeder. I can't seem to find him in my bird books.  His coloring is most like the Juniper Titmouse but is larger (but not as large as a female Phainopepla) and has that thin, white, unbroken outline on wing. Also his beak is larger. Any help identifying is appreciated.

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Welcome to Whatbird! My best guess would be Oak Titmouse with a couple of white wing feathers.

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Thanks to both Charlie and PSWEET for Oak Titmouse suggestion.  Wikipedia's pic of it shows a partial thin, white wing outline but it was largely brown.  My guy had zero brown and a longer white wing outline. It turns out the Titmouse not only eats insects but has been known the chow down on nuts and seeds which were at my feeder. So maybe an odd, grey only variety of Oak Titmouse.

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I'll make two points here -- first, size is a surprisingly difficult thing to judge in birds. All of us can offer examples where we were way off with it. Second, some birds occasionally show white feathers that aren't normally white. That's what I was thinking your bird may be showing. (I'd also be careful with Wikipedia pics. They're better than they used to be, but even where they've got the right bird, they're only showing one or two shots, without taking into account the variations from geography, fading and wear, age & sex, lighting considerations, etc. If you're interested in birds, spend a few bucks and get yourself a good field guide. Stokes, Golden (if you can still find it), National Geographic, Sibley's are all very good, with a range of prices.)

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Thanks psweet for the in-put. Do know though that the reason I discovered What Bird is because I couldn't find my bird in my Sibley's, Stokes or National Geo bird books. Nor my Peterson's for Western Birds. Glad to know about being careful when judging size. And yes, Wikipedia can not always be trusted. I mentioned it only because when I googled images of the Oak Titmouse , it showed one with a bit of white wing outline.  The rest of the color was way off what my visitor looked like.

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"... When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

Sherlock Holmes

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11 hours ago, Curious Bird said:

Thanks psweet for the in-put. Do know though that the reason I discovered What Bird is because I couldn't find my bird in my Sibley's, Stokes or National Geo bird books. Nor my Peterson's for Western Birds. Glad to know about being careful when judging size. And yes, Wikipedia can not always be trusted. I mentioned it only because when I googled images of the Oak Titmouse , it showed one with a bit of white wing outline.  The rest of the color was way off what my visitor looked like.

I agree completely that size will fool you over and over. You learn, not so much to trust your perception of size, but to doubt it :-D

Also when you are new at birding it can be very hard to find the birds in the guides. It's a skill along with the rest of the birding process. When I was just starting I spent hours looking for a House Sparrow, thinking it would be easy with that big black "T" on his face, but I had trouble matching the illustration to the bird; I felt silly when I finally found it but like anythng else there is a learning process. 

When I look for photos online, I don't go to the image search; I google the species name and then choose a reliable source, like Cornell's All About Birds, from the options offered. I find that the image searches produce a lot of mis-identified birds.

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51 minutes ago, Aveschapines said:

When I look for photos online, I don't go to the image search; I google the species name and then choose a reliable source, like Cornell's All About Birds, from the options offered. I find that the image searches produce a lot of mis-identified birds.

That's the problem with using a generic search engine for technical or specialized images.  You get a lot of mis-identified photos.

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48 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

That's the problem with using a generic search engine for technical or specialized images.  You get a lot of mis-identified photos.

YES! 

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Your best bet for photo search is now the eBird/Macaulay Library archive at Cornell.  It blows anything else away, for a number of reasons:  size of sample, all photos are geo-referenced, virtually all photos have been vetted for ID accuracy, and the range of photos covers seasons, day length, geographic coverage, etc.  Click here for the archive's selection of Oak Titmouse photos, which, when I got the link, had 1177 pix of the species.

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Please keep in mind that when you are doing a pic search for a specific bird using, say, GOOGLE IMAGES,  the search engine is merely "pulling up" pictures on webpages that are situated very close to the word or phrase you entered in the search box.

From my understanding, theoretically, using their sophisticated algorithms, most of the pics showing up at the very top of the results "should" be relevant to the bird you are looking for, but as we know, that is often not the case. And the farther down you go in the results, the less and less relevance to your exact query may be seen. 

Some of the pictures may show other birds ( that are actually identified correctly, with captions, within the respective webpages they are embedded in) but those "wrong" bird pics just happen to be very close to the text pertaining to the bird you are trying to learn about.  Hopefully this makes sense!  

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7 hours ago, Tony Leukering said:

Your best bet for photo search is now the eBird/Macaulay Library archive at Cornell.  It blows anything else away, for a number of reasons:  size of sample, all photos are geo-referenced, virtually all photos have been vetted for ID accuracy, and the range of photos covers seasons, day length, geographic coverage, etc.  Click here for the archive's selection of Oak Titmouse photos, which, when I got the link, had 1177 pix of the species.

That or All about birds.org.  A great place for images of male/female, immature. And also similar species.

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5 hours ago, creeker said:

Wouldn't look like this, would it?

Can I have that empty box?  Yeah, that one; the one you're thinking outside of.

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14 hours ago, creeker said:

Wouldn't look like this, would it?

image.thumb.png.93d5addd3d387408212fe2448ef56d7c.png

Bigger than a finch, but we've dealt with that. Eating nuts and not small seeds fits too... You could be right! 

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I'm very grateful for everyone's replies. Most helpful were the ones that listed eBird for checking images. I may be a newbie to this site but I have been a casual birder for 30 years. That is why I described the when, where and what I saw as specifically as possible in my initial post. Solid grey upper and lighter grey lower. No streaks, no spots except for the distinct thin, white wing outline. While the cockatiel does have a white wing outline, my guy was not a cockatiel. The best guess is what many have said ... the Oak Titmouse. While my Sibley, Stokes, Nat Geo and Peterson books all show it being brownish, the E-bird site did show some grey ones and even one with what looked like a partial bit of white line on the wing edge. The bird that looks closest in coloring and crest to what I saw is the Juniper Titmouse but my location is not right for it. Thanks again to all who replied.

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We have lots of oak titmice around here (San Gabriel Valley) and they are definitely a gray bird with no brown at all. Imagine a very plain gray bird with a timid personality sporting a mohawk. They will take sunflower seeds from my feeder and then go to a nearby branch to open them by pounding on them with their beak against a branch. They cannot open seeds easily the way, say, a finch would. Does that behavior sound similar?

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2 hours ago, dvg said:

We have lots of oak titmice around here (San Gabriel Valley) and they are definitely a gray bird with no brown at all. Imagine a very plain gray bird with a timid personality sporting a mohawk. They will take sunflower seeds from my feeder and then go to a nearby branch to open them by pounding on them with their beak against a branch. They cannot open seeds easily the way, say, a finch would. Does that behavior sound similar?

 

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Thank you dvg. Your description in right on. What had me confused looking through all my bird books was, the color was off.  So you confirming that in the greater LA area our Oak Titmouse is grey is very helpful. Now I can say with fairly good certainty my guy was just that.  Thanks again.

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