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Cactus Wren? - Big Bend Nat'l. Park - Chisos Mtns. - Outer Mountain Loop - Brewster Co, TX - 7/24/21


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  • 2 weeks later...

Sooooo....my ebird reviewer flagged this one over the weekend.  Obviously, the pictures leave quite a lot to be desired.  He said it would be highly unusual for a Cactus Wren to be found that high up in elevation (the Chisos Mtn Basin, where i saw it, is anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 feet above the surrounding desert lowlands, which apparently the bird is more commonly found).  The elevation where I saw the bird was +/- 6500' above mean sea level.  He suggested I change the ID to "new world sparrow sp.", thinking it was some type of a juvenile sparrow, and that he'd try to figure it out at some point down the road perhaps.

I could see that a juvenile Black-throated Sparrow may have that streaked upper chest area, but the white feather edge visible underneath the upper part of the tail doesn't seem to match.  I don't honestly see anything else on Merlin Bird ID that it could be either.  Any other thoughts on this one anybody? 

Lastly, I would note that within the past year a significant fire occurred up in the Basin where I was hiking, leaving lots of dead and deteriorating wood and debris in its wake, potentially creating a short term draw to species not normally in this area for foraging reasons, but that's purely conjecture on my part, as I don't even know what the diet is of a Cactus Wren if I'm being honest.

Should I just change it to what he suggested and let it go?

Thanks!

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13 minutes ago, Caley Thomas said:

Sooooo....my ebird reviewer flagged this one over the weekend.  Obviously, the pictures leave quite a lot to be desired.  He said it would be highly unusual for a Cactus Wren to be found that high up in elevation (the Chisos Mtn Basin, where i saw it, is anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 feet above the surrounding desert lowlands, which apparently the bird is more commonly found).  The elevation where I saw the bird was +/- 6500' above mean sea level.  He suggested I change the ID to "new world sparrow sp.", thinking it was some type of a juvenile sparrow, and that he'd try to figure it out at some point down the road perhaps.

I could see that a juvenile Black-throated Sparrow may have that streaked upper chest area, but the white feather edge visible underneath the upper part of the tail doesn't seem to match.  I don't honestly see anything else on Merlin Bird ID that it could be either.  Any other thoughts on this one anybody? 

Lastly, I would note that within the past year a significant fire occurred up in the Basin where I was hiking, leaving lots of dead and deteriorating wood and debris in its wake, potentially creating a short term draw to species not normally in this area for foraging reasons, but that's purely conjecture on my part, as I don't even know what the diet is of a Cactus Wren if I'm being honest.

Should I just change it to what he suggested and let it go?

Thanks!

I agree with your reviewer. This bird has pink legs and has a striped (not spotted) breast. 

Edited by Connor Cochrane
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1 hour ago, Connor Cochrane said:

I agree with your reviewer. This bird has pink legs and has a striped (not spotted) breast. 

Just a thought, however I am probably wrong. But, I’m getting Sage thrasher vibes from this. Thoughts..

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11 minutes ago, IKLland said:

Just a thought, however I am probably wrong. But, I’m getting Sage thrasher vibes from this. Thoughts..

I agree. When I said Cactus Wren before, I was really not thinking. Those white edges, slight buffy edges, and stripes definitely look like Sage Thrasher.

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3 hours ago, Connor Cochrane said:

I agree with your reviewer. This bird has pink legs and has a striped (not spotted) breast. 

Agreed. I don’t think it’s a Sage Thrasher.

Edited by Seanbirds
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I saw a Cactus Wren there in January 2020.  It was right in front of the lodge     I got a pretty good picture and it was confirmed by a couple people here on Whatbird.   Not saying this was a Cactus Wren but they are in the Basin by the lodge.  
 

sorry just noted you were higher up not by the lodge.  Never mind

Edited by Roadguy205
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5 minutes ago, Quiscalus quiscula said:

Not to contradict you, but why not sage thrasher? I don't know what kind of sparrow would match this picture.

Spotting (not streaking like on this bird) on a Sage Thrasher extends down to the belly and further. 

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OK, so this awesome reviewer did a bunch more looking at it, and came back to me with juvenile Spotted Towhee, which, factoring in the behaviors, elevation, and abundance of this species at this location, makes perfect sense to me.  Just thought I would follow up one last time, and sorry my poor pics made this one so damn difficult to pin down!

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16 minutes ago, Caley Thomas said:

OK, so this awesome reviewer did a bunch more looking at it, and came back to me with juvenile Spotted Towhee, which, factoring in the behaviors, elevation, and abundance of this species at this location, makes perfect sense to me.  Just thought I would follow up one last time, and sorry my poor pics made this one so damn difficult to pin down!

Juvenile Spotted Towhee fits perfectly!

Edited by Seanbirds
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