Thursday, October 02, 2008

A post with cute birds to keep me from having an aneurysm

I'm multi-tasking here...watching the debate and trying to blog.
I can't think of any witty stuff because I am trying not to blow an artery watching Sarah Palin try to keep up with Joe Biden. Does anyone else just hate her?
I hate that McGrandpa chose a woman just because she's a woman. Does he think he can wave a chick in front of us and we will lose our minds and run out to vote for her?
I hate the bit about her being able to see Russia from her front porch. I grew up in Indiana, and you can see Kentucky from the riverbank. Does that mean I would have made a good general in the Civil War?
I hate all the men out there who "ooh" and "ahh" about her. So, you think T & A makes a good vice-president? Then write me on the ballot. I've got "T" out to here.

Geez...I need some birds and stuff.

This morning, a wall of clouds crept up the street. I didn't realize it until I uploaded it, but there's an optical illusion going on. Looks like the world is slightly concave.
Cloud Wall

Breath in the blue of a blue jay.....
Blue Jay

And the perkiness of a titmouse...

Ooo....a red-shouldered hawk on the neighbor's roof.
RSHA on neighbors roof
No band, so this is either a resident adult or a new adult. (All the chicks in the area are banded, at least we think they are)

I'm not sure about this one yet (sent an email to Kathi, the Sparrow Queen, to help)
Looks like a Field Sparrow...but it was in my yard. That would be a first.
dont know yet
(that dark area on the breast is just ruffled feathers...he had been preening and fluffing)
UPDATE: Kathi confirmed it. A Field Sparrow. New yard bird!

God, the debate is still going on.
Breath in....find your happy place.....


KatDoc said...

I've been playing in clay, so no debate for me tonight. I never watch debates, actually, although this is one I had considered watching. Since it seems like it can cause aneurysms, maybe I'm glad I didn't watch.


Field Sparrow, to be precise. God, doncha just love the Little Brown Birds? (OK, the Blue and Red ones are nice, too.)


Beth (cousin) said...

Agreed on the politics. I'll challenge you on the T, though.

Susan Gets Native said...

Thanks for the help. It was one of those times where the bird didn't match the habitat it is SUPPOSED to be in!
Touche. We seem to have received the BOOB gene, didn't we?

Susan Gets Native said...

By the way.....that field sparrow is my 59th yard bird! Whoot!

Mary said...

Well, I'm so happy for you. Really, I am...birds, birds, birds. Your backyard is a bird magnet. Mine used to be...


I think she's pretty (love her up-dos and eyeglasses) and quite gutsy but Joe's the best :o) I lost interest after the first 30 minutes simply because I'm SICK OF IT so I'll get more scoop tomorrow morning with Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America while I'll be working from home because of the freaking gas crisis.

Very Cynical in NC,

Cindie U. said...

Susan...I'm right there with you...last night was painful. I had a couple of things that drove me nuts: the way she talks down, using "folksy" language to appeal to the masses; the way she sounded as if she'd been to McCain bootcamp to get her facts committed to memory, only to still get them wrong; and most of all, I hate that she's the only woman out there. I would have loved to hear her debating that would have been a debate.

Okay, stepping off soapbox and getting back to work.

PS. Love your bluejay picture.

NCmountainwoman said...

Why in the world can't that woman pronounce the "g" at the end of her words? And I got so sick of hearing "ya" and all the folksy demeanor. Took an extra glass of wine to get through that debate.

Loved the hawk.

donaldthebirder said...

The head of the sparrow does not look right for Field Sparrow to me. Too dark an eye line, too dark overall in face. I say 1st winter Chipping Sparrow. Just my opinion.

Windyridge said...

Count me in on the just hate her wagon. YUK! last night was a joke. When you say: "Does he think he can wave a chick in front of us and we will lose our minds and run out to vote for her?" Of course the answer is yes, that's why they put her well rehearsed arse on the podium. Didn't this country elect GB, not once but TWICE? THis country is full of twits. Oh boy you got me going. I will quit now. I had my own little rant on my blog.

Susan Gets Native said...

I'm glad I am not the only one who wants her to just go away.

WAY too big to be a chippie. This was closer to the size of a HOSP.

donaldthebirder said...

Field Sparrow would be closer in size to a chipping than to a HOSP. If it was that big, I would say it is a 1st winter White-crowned Sparrow. Just doesn't look right to me. Maybe someone else should chime in, as my ID skills have suffered greatly from the greed of my employer!

KatDoc said...


Not trying to start a "debate" here, LOL, but Susan sent me several photos besides the one she posted here that I used in my ID.

I called this bird a Field Sparrow based on: 1) pink bill and pink legs, 2) eyering 3) clear breast (the "spot" is a place where the feathers are ruffled back)

I agree the streaky crown looks like a first winter Chippy, but I don't think the eyeline is as pronounced as a Chipping Sparrow's should be, even in fall. Also, I know that Susan knows Chipping Sparrows well, and I was pretty sure she wouldn't e-mail me a "What's this bird?" question for a Chippy.

It's totally not a first year White-crowned Sparrow (which I call "Brown-crowned,") as the crown is streaky, not cleanly striped. And, White-crowns are HUGE (in sparrow terms)

It is hard to tell size from the photo, of course. As you say, FISP is closer to CHSP than to HOSP in size.

Chipping Sparrow: 5.5"
Field Sparrow: 5.75"
House Sparrow: 6.25"
White-crowned: 7.0"

The more I look at the crown and eyeline, the more I question my original ID. The eyeRING and pink bill still says Field to me, though.

Maybe we need a moderator!


Lynne said...

Check out the gray collar. What do you think of a gray-cheeked sparrow?
Rump gray or brown?
Gray rump = chipping sparrow
Brown rump = gray-cheeked sparrow.

John said...

I think it's a first-winter chipping sparrow. The facial patterns are too strong and too dark for a field sparrow. No field sparrow has an eyeline that dark, or brown auriculars that contrast with the white malar. Most field sparrows have warmer tones. First-winter chippies have the pink bill, broken eyering, and clear breast shown in the photo. The shape of the bill also seems more characteristic of chippies, which have narrower and sharper bills than field sparrows.

Agreed that this is a Spizella sp. and not a Zonotrichia sp. That latter genus has much different proportions.

On Palin: I also found her answers in the debate really annoying. So many things bothered me about it that I'm not really sure where to start.

Susan Gets Native said...

Let me say it again.
I know what a chipping sparrow looks like. They nest here. I've seen their young. This was BIGGER.

Mary said...


KatDoc said...


Gray-cheeked? I don't know that species. Is it a western species of sparrow?


We may have to rethink our sparrow ID. I am looking at more and more photos on the web and I am beginning to be swayed towards the winter Chippy camp. Was it cool and windy, so that your bird may have been puffed up, appearing bigger?

~Kat, who has been known to be wrong about a bird ID from time to time (I know you're shocked to hear this!)

Susan Gets Native said...

That's it. (stomping foot)

I'm calling Julie.

Lynne said...

I ran it past the sparrow teachers at this class and they both call it a winter chippie. Your picture and the picture I posted in early September of the juvenile chippie were part of a quiz for the class today. Thay argued a bit about whether it had an eye ring and both thought it looked puffed up in the wind making it appear larger that most chippies.

Lynne said...

Kathi- I meant clay-colored sparrow (not gray cheeked).
I was too tired...
Too much prairie wind...

Julie Zickefoose said...

Dear Susan,

I enter this fray with some trepidation, remembering the darkling beetle incident. The Chimp likes to shed light, not tick people off. But since you asked...

Sorry not to be Spiderman swooping in to save your birdwatching Mary Jane, who is hanging precariously from the heavy cable car of her own convictions, weighed down by the declarations of others, screaming's that for a metaphor?...but that looks like a winter-plumaged chipping sparrow to me.

If what happens in Whipple happens in Cinti (and I'd bet big bucks it does), we see breeding-plumaged adults feeding JUVENILE plumaged fledglings. And then they all disappear for a couple of months to who knows where, and then the next thing we see is the adults and juveniles in fresh first winter plumage, which looks entirely different from the breeding adult and first juvenile plumage we know. So they've molted since you last saw them, these immature chipping sparrows. I always do a double-take when the first one shows up, as it did here on October 4.

Apparent size is the most subjective thing in birding, and it's not a field mark. Streaked crowns, malar stripes and wingbars are far more definitive than apparent size in deciding ID's. You won't see fine black streaks in the crown of a basic-plumaged field sparrow (or any plumage, for that matter). A field sparrow's bill would be entirely pink, and it would lack a dusky line through the eye. A field sparrow is only a quarter of an inch longer on average than a chipping sparrow, and there's certainly going to be overlap there.

Although clay-colored sparrow is a good suggestion, this bird is too warmly-colored to be a clay-colored. For the Science Chimp, the evidence all adds up to chippy.

Leaving without her customary exultant Eee's, closing the door soundlessly behind her, hoping to get out without being swatted, the Science Chimp knuckles off.

dguzman said...

Wow, I get to arrive late and immediately after the Science Chimp has "knuckled" off! I'm sorry to say that I thought chippy immediately. Sorry, Susan!

Still--that's, what, 58 yardbirds? You rule! (but only because I don't live at the Marsh House anymore, with its 73 yardbird species... hem, hem!) hee hee hee!