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new     seed with  dried  fruit  in feeder,, new  bird ,,  in Virginia ,, mostly  black wings  with  brown on the tip   and a brown collar    . size of a robin   under color is   tan  1555626030_bird2.thumb.jpg.47f836e06e7bdc0e453874478311ab9c.jpg44112363_bird1.thumb.jpg.69d669c0ee5084365ad0dca1eb6e90c1.jpg

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I have  seen   adult   cowbird at the feeder at other times  so  maybe  you are right   I have lived in 7 states  am  an avid birdwatcher ..  I dont  know what this is,,  it  is August in Virginia  it looked  like a   tan oriole .. thanks 

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 it  did not have the usual  brown head   and  black  body  of  male  cowbirds   I knw  what they look like.. but  maybe  molting       or young

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Posted (edited)

Here is another shot of a molting Brown-headed Cowbird. I know that I was confused the first time I saw one looking like this, I thought I had discovered a new species of bird and was ready to call National Geographic to have them publish my super rare picture. :classic_laugh: Just kidding about the last part, I was really confused though and had to ask for help identifying it. Whatbird members quickly pointed out that I wasn't going to be able to name a new species with my discovery though. :classic_biggrin:

20582347856_a28159a0e4_c.jpgUntitled by lonestranger102, on Flickr

Edited by lonestranger
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 I  don't  see   brown   between  black wings on the  back   and a brown  collar  .. it had very black  wings  with brown  tips ..   my son was with me and took the picture thru  screen and  blinds  with       his  phone .. so they are not  good .  yours looks  fatter   also .. maybe its ruffled up 

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2 minutes ago, Lenor Filler said:

I  don't  see   brown   between  black wings on the  back   and a brown  collar  .. it had very black  wings  with brown  tips ..

That is probably because more adult feathers have grown in on your bird.  Over time more and more adult feathers will come in until it looks like the male Brown-headed Cowbirds you normally see.

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 OK  I am used to  shiny  black  cowbird with  brown  head .  Audubon .  Field  guide has 2 pictures   .. one  like   I know  and one all  dull ..  on 2 different pages  516   and 571 . ..   so you must know more than I do …..  love your  photos  ..  

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I'm not saying with certainty that it is a brown-headed cowbird, I'm far from an expert on birds, but I do know that the young males look like the females until they moult into adult plumage. When they do moult, the transition varies from bird to bird, I would think. If you saw the same moulting bird at different times during the moult, it might very well look like a totally different bird each time you saw it, and totally unique from the other birds that might be going through the same moult.. 

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 I    hope  we  see it again  it has not been back.. I did not realize  they change so much, I thought if you see a bird  that's its identity was   pretty  clear .. like   male  and female  cardinals or gold  finches   when  they  moult ..  someone  else  agreed with you.. thanks 

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9 hours ago, Lenor Filler said:

I thought if you see a bird  that's its identity was   pretty  clear

That would make birding a lot easier!  They vary a lot - males, females, age, season, diet, geography, and probably other factors I've forgotten this morning.

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I never  knew this!! I can identify most  around my home that are  distinctive . that's why I was puzzled by this one   thanks .. I am  in my 80s ..  still a lot to learn

 

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My  bird is back..  feeding at feeder and on the ground ..  hanging   around    with cardinals  ,,  same  size ..  very  long  black tail  and  very  black wings ,,  tan  body l.. orange-brown  between  wings on its back  and  same color on    collar ..  small beak   Im not    convinced its a cowbird ..   

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 now there also was a    all  gray   fluffy  looking  bird   about the  same  size as the  cowbird  with a yellow  spot  under its throat ..  is that  a baby  cowbird  .. it was  with the molting one 

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3 hours ago, Lenor Filler said:

 now there also was a    all  gray   fluffy  looking  bird   about the  same  size as the  cowbird  with a yellow  spot  under its throat ..  is that  a baby  cowbird  .. it was  with the molting one 

That does sound like a juvenile Brown-headed Cowbird, but adult females are similar.  Juveniles have noticeable mottling on the breast and pale edging on the back and wing feathers while adult females are a more uniform gray-brown color.  It might be difficult to tell if it is fluffing up its feathers.

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13 minutes ago, Lenor Filler said:

 In the picture  from  10,000 birds    ,  I see the   first one I asked  about ..  is that a   MALE Jeuvenile?

Yes. Sort of. Just to clarify...

1. Adult male:

image.png.5757d84ea7d42729014c3bead9dfd0de.png

2. Adult female:

image.png.254f3e2ce7bd6490fce2dfbde28545bb.png

3. Juvenile (a few weeks after leaving the nest; the period when it wears its first complete set of feathers):

image.png.d63102a29b07e26247078db52d1d6023.png

4. Immature (molting) male... (the first bird and the bird from the 10,000 birds website):

image.png.1f118e093d082e962d0efe96de3a3396.png

You can notice many things from these pictures. Since juveniles are very similar to adult females, females do not look very different when molting into their adult plumage. However, since the adult male plumage is very different from the juvenile plumage, males have a patchwork of brown and black when molting.

(All pictures taken from allaboutbirds.org)

Edited by akandula
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27 minutes ago, Lenor Filler said:

   at the same time I had Number 3  and 4   . pictures   I knew  what   a  adult  looked like    I did not  know the stages    were  so  different

Gulls are even worse.   They may go through a different stage annually for a few years before reaching adulthood.  Raptors can be pretty challenging too.

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