Re: Mystery Bird

Kay Loughman

    Thank you for your suggestions about the identification of my "mystery" bird.  If this had been an identification contest, the folks who suggested "canary" would have won.  Beyond knowing the birds are very small and pale yellow, I am not familiar with canaries;  and, at first, was incredulous at the suggestion.  In the last few days, I've spent a lot of time on the web learning about canaries [not all are very small; there are many color patterns] , and looking for pictures of canaries that might be similar to the visitor at my feeder.   The best match was a Spanish Timbrado  (known primarily for its singing) which has many characteristics in common with "my" bird, including a pale, forked tail - unlike most other species I've considered.  It's only 5" long - smaller than my estimate of the visitor to my feeder.

Timbrado Canary

Have contacted a couple of breeders and a pet store to verify the identification.  No responses so far.

Kay Loughman

dalyhallie@... wrote on 7/30/2020 12:58 PM:
I believe this to be a type of canary -- probably a released pet. I have been seeing quite a few recently around the East Bay and San Jose so I don't know if there are more than usual or what is going on. I counted over 7 canaries at Grant Ranch in Santa Clara County just the other day. They are super variable in coloration but the bill shape, the random color patterning, and the yellow indicate to me that it is a captive canary (most similar to the "Atlantic Canary" type). 

Hallie Daly 
Alamo, California

kayloughman@... wrote on July 29, 2020 9:38 PM:

This afternoon I glanced out the window at one of the bird feeders, then reached for binoculars.  There were a dozen birds on the feeder: lesser goldfinches, house finches, and chickadees.  But on the squirrel baffle below the feeder was a strange-looking bird I couldn't identify with bare eyes or binoculars.  So I grabbed the camera and inched closer to the double-pane window - not wanting to cause any of the birds to fly.  I took about 20 pictures, none of them good, before a scrub-jay sent everyone away.   See three photos here.  Looks like there's a grosbeak in this bird's heritage; but what else?

Kay Loughman
in the hills on the Berkeley-Oakland border

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