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I live in Raleigh, NC, and have a very busy three-feeders balcony.  Yesterday I got a new pair of birds and they were back today and I am unsure of what they are.  I am using a photo from online - my balcony is too dark to get a decent photo.  The difference from this grackle is the coloring - a lovely grey/brown all over, definitely not black or iridescent.  But the tail is just like this photo and the beak is also dark.  A very sleek, elegant bird, fairly large, more slender than the robins but the long legs and long tail make the birds look big.  Both were identical.  They look like photos of female boat-tailed grackles as to color but they are obviously a pair.  Any thoughts appreciated.  I am new to bird-watching but love it, especially now when we are quarantined.

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welcome...
I haven't looked at the maps recently but I think boat-tailed grackles are common in that area. So that's possible.
If it's possible, though, try and get a photo. Even if it's a lousy cell phone photo, there are some people here that can work with it. :) 

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You may be seeing a female; they are brown and not irridescent. Great-Tailed Grackles here tend to stay separated by gender except during breeding. Seeing two females together isn't unusual. Also it could be a female and her young; the young ones also look a lot like females. 

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That’s very interesting. I know very little about birds but I don’t think I’ve ever heard about anything like that. Thank you for the information!

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3 minutes ago, ccb said:

That’s very interesting. I know very little about birds but I don’t think I’ve ever heard about anything like that. Thank you for the information!

You're welcome. Sometimes males and females look quite different, not just brighter or duller in color or something like that. The Great-Tailed Grackles look very different; females are also smaller than males. Many people think they are two different species, because they look so different and also because they tend to hang out with others of the same sex. They even have different names in local Spanish 😄

By the way, I'm talking about Great-Tailed Grackles because they are the ones I see; Boat-Tailed look very similar and usually people differentiate them by range (in other words, where you see them).

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I'm just emailing my neighbor in the next apartment who has bird feeders - we share the same birds and I wanted to let her in on the new "diners".  I copied your post as I thought it was so interesting.  The 2 that have come look about the same size.  At first I thought they were some of the starlings I have but realized their sleeker frame and consistent coloring were different.

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Man, I got really excited for a minute before I realized this was an internet photo. Boat-tailed would be remarkable for Raleigh. The only grackles you’re going to see there are Common.

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3 minutes ago, blackburnian said:

Man, I got really excited for a minute before I realized this was an internet photo. Boat-tailed would be remarkable for Raleigh. The only grackles you’re going to see there are Common.

OOh thanks. I didn't check the range; I was going by the previous post that said they are in range.

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I looked at photos of the common grackle but couldn't find one that showed the tail well enough.  The 2 I have have the wide tail with the indentation in the center at the end.  Do the common grackles have that too?

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A bit of sun and the one bird came back.  I used Photoshop as best I could but it was a hurried blurry photo.  I see now the coloring is lighter than I thought from seeing it in the shadow.  I'll try for a better photo.

 

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Ah!  I went to photos of them on Google and it did look the same.  Mine seemed bigger than the ones on Google but it's hard to tell.  Thank you!

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4 hours ago, ccb said:

Ah!  I went to photos of them on Google and it did look the same.  Mine seemed bigger than the ones on Google but it's hard to tell.  Thank you!

Agree, a nice Gray Catbird. Notice the black cap 😄 And yes, it can be very hard to accurately judge the size of birds we see in the field. We've all been burned by that a time or two.

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