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Weirdness in Maryland

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Sorry for the poor picture quality---I did the best I could with what I was sent.  Local listserv here in Maryland, Baltimore area (I believe).  Post-er says the bird has been hanging out around her suet feeder for months.

I'm baffled.  If I saw this near the road during the winter somewhere rural, I'd call it a Snow Bunting, but that's just plain wrong, isn't it?  This is a (sub)urban setting, near feeders, apparently since early fall.

Leucistic mockingbird...?  Escaped exotic?  At a loss here.

 

weirdbird.jpg

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Looks to be a leucistic bird, but the shape is wrong for a mockingbird.  If I had to guess I'd say House Finch or Common Redpoll, but I'm afraid we're going to need a better photo.

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I originally thought goldfinch but now I'm leaning against it.  I've never seen a American Goldfinch at my suet feeders, even when the weather is at its coldest and the seed feeders are empty.  I realize I haven't surveyed the feeding habits of all North American Goldies but that choice of food has me now firmly out of the goldfinch camp.

The Bird Nuts' streaking has me wondering about a warbler, but there doesn't appear to be enough bill.

Edited by Charlie Spencer

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Hard to imagine its been "hanging around for months" and nobody has taken a decent picture.  Are we sure this isn't a troll?

Following Charlie Spencer's train of thought... I went to Project Feederwatch to see what common birds might eat suet in the winter in the northeast.  I'm wondering if it is a Baltimore Oriole.  The Bird Nuts streaking might rule that out, but the head shape seems right to me.  Some other possibilities from that list that struck me are Palm Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler and Eastern Bluebird.

Edited by Jim W

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I see nothing to suggest Baltimore Oriole here. Note the shape, structure, bill, and coloring. I'm still thinking House Finch, or possibly a Redpoll.

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2 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Leucistic Redpoll or House Finch, then?  Are redpolls like finches, in that their coloring is affected by the carotenoids in their diet?

 I think that in House and Purple Finches the diet really on,t changed the color of the breast on males. This bird is definitely leucistic. 

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2 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Leucistic Redpoll or House Finch, then?  Are redpolls like finches, in that their coloring is affected by the carotenoids in their diet?

Redpolls are finches.

Edited by akiley

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Everyone loves a good mystery :)

1 hour ago, Melierax said:

The tail is long and it appears to be walking, not hopping like a finch. 

Good observation; the legs - what little can be seen of them - look very unnatural in shape and very pale.  The tail appears to have a kink in it at an odd location, suggesting the last portion might not even be part of the tail.

1 hour ago, Melierax said:

What about an escaped white budgerigar?

You might be onto something here.  The head and eyes are very 'budgie' looking.  The way the bird is posed, and its location - it's some kind of cement shelf, perhaps an outdoor grill. It's not typical behavior of a wild bird.

It kind of looks like an amalgam of different birds.  It might even be fake as Jim W suggested up above.

Edited by Bee_ keeper
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Not a troll, I’m quite sure. This is from a state naturalist listserv, so a pretty well vetted group. On that list, the leucistic goldfinch idea was the most popular. I think, really, the best we’re going to be able to say is leucistic passerine. The rest is speculation.

Appreciate the replies!

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