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Hey!  Just joined this site and am not at all sure if this is the right place to post this, but I am looking for help identifying a bird I saw yesterday that does not seem to be in any of my field guides.  Unfortunately, I do not have a photo, but I was able to watch it w/ binoculars, both while perched and in flight.  Thus:

Bird spotted in western Calaveras County, CA, yesterday around noon (grassland w/ scrub oak & some pine, elevation +1,000 ft).  While perched, it appeared at least crow-sized.  Black head, back, wings & tail.  Long, straight, narrow beak (like a sandpiper).  White collar.  Red breast.  Narrow tail that pointed while perched and assumed the shape of a narrow puttyknife in flight.

In flight, it had a kestrel-like silhouette, no space between individual wing or tail feathers evident.  It did not soar or glide for any length of time.

Any suggestions, greatly appreciated!

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17 minutes ago, Adam Nye said:

Hey!  Just joined this site and am not at all sure if this is the right place to post this, but I am looking for help identifying a bird I saw yesterday that does not seem to be in any of my field guides.  Unfortunately, I do not have a photo, but I was able to watch it w/ binoculars, both while perched and in flight.  Thus:

Bird spotted in western Calaveras County, CA, yesterday around noon (grassland w/ scrub oak & some pine, elevation +1,000 ft).  While perched, it appeared at least crow-sized.  Black head, back, wings & tail.  Long, straight, narrow beak (like a sandpiper).  White collar.  Red breast.  Narrow tail that pointed while perched and assumed the shape of a narrow puttyknife in flight.

In flight, it had a kestrel-like silhouette, no space between individual wing or tail feathers evident.  It did not soar or glide for any length of time.

Any suggestions, greatly appreciated!

You said that you saw it when it was perched, was it tree clinging or perched? Welcome to whatbird @Adam Nye!

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The bird was perched right at the top of a tall oak. I  noticed its silhouette against the horizon.  This bird was BIG --at LEAST crow-sized.  The long, narrow beak seemed incongruous.  It was NOT a woodpecker.  If not for the beak, I would have said it was a small hawk.

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8 hours ago, Adam Nye said:

The bird was perched right at the top of a tall oak. I  noticed its silhouette against the horizon.  This bird was BIG --at LEAST crow-sized.  The long, narrow beak seemed incongruous.  It was NOT a woodpecker.  If not for the beak, I would have said it was a small hawk.

Lewis's Woodpeckers are somewhat similar in size to crows, and even have a similar flight pattern.

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