Sunday, January 27, 2008

Mystery Bird

Hey there ~
Does anybody know what kind of bird this is? My friend Irvane emailed these pictures to me today and said; "This bird has visited our feeder the past two weeks. It's something we've never seen before here in southern New Jersey. Possibly a Snow Bunting?"

I looked it up in my National Geographic Field Guide to Birds of North America. I don't think it's a Snow Bunting because it doesn't have any white on it's wings. I think it might be a Gray Jay. Does anybody out there know or have any ideas? Let me know what you think.
Have a nice night! Talk to you later, Sandy


  1. I love matching photos to nature and this is my best guess. Not knowing the size of the bird and judging by its beak, I thought it might be a Kite or in the Falcon family.

    I have a Peterson's Field Guideof Eastern Birds. I would say it matches very closly with the Mississippi Kite drawing in my book. Sizewise, the adult is 14", but the adult also is feathered part way down the leg, which this one does not appear to be. The snow bunting takes on a warm tan color in winter and has lots more striping in the wings. The Mississippi Kite also has the dark, straight cut tail this one has, as well as the mottled head coloring around the eye. The bunting has a lighter colored tail with somewhat of dip in the center, not cut straight across. That's my best guess.

  2. This is a very good question! I'm thinking the Mississippi Kite would be well outside it's range. Also, considering it mostly catches insects on the wing and eats them in flight it wouldn't be around here now. As for the Snow Bunting it doesn't have the right markings. That wouldn't rule out a local variation But the beak is the wrong color and I'm thinking that would be too far off a variation. I'm totally stumped!!!!

  3. Could our warming temperatures be playing a part in bringing birds to this area not normally seen in this region? On January 6th, I marked it on my calendar, I saw 2 robins in the yard. I had to look at least twice to believe my eyes. But they were robins!

  4. The year round range of the Robin is most of the US.
    Look at the map in your field guides. I think in the cold weather we don't see them much because they stay under cover. Happy Birding!


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