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1 hour ago, Dan P said:

I don't know where to start with this bird.

I started with the bill.  It's one evolved for eating small seeds.  That let me rule out birds with narrower, more pointy bills that are usually for catching insects (flycatchers, warblers, kinglets), and heavier bills for eating heavier seeds (cardinals, sparrows, Fringillidae finches).  With a bill like this one, I could elimate elminate* rule out those other species and narrow the list down to goldfinches, siskins, and a few others.

Okay, honestly, I recognized the bird from experience.  The breakdown above is an example of how I start with birds I'm unfamiliar with.   But as you noted, you'd already ruled out hawks.  Sometimes a correct ID is reached by the good old process of elimination.

* Tried to type that word repeatedly and couldn't get it right to save me!  Yeah, I know about autocorrect and other tools, but I know how to spell the danged word.  My fingers are on vacation.

 

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Thanks Charlie.  You know, I just didn't see it as a finch's bill.  It didn't seem to have the thickness at the base, from top to bottom.  And I had not seen a female AMGO from the front before.  Actually, this is only the second photo I have of an AMGO.

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26 minutes ago, Dan P said:

You know, I just didn't see it as a finch's bill.  It didn't seem to have the thickness at the base, from top to bottom.

Understandable.  It sounds like you're more familiar with the heavier-billed finches than with goldfinches and siskins.  Different branches of the family tree.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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