Narrative Challenge 1

Mike Hall

Can I get an ID? I have three situations (one about a vocalization, the other two mainly about behavior).
(1) Yesterday morning (October 20), 7 a.m., Berkeley, CA (near North Berkeley BART station) seen without binocs or even my glasses through a hazy back window: a sparrow-sized bird with a sparrow-like bill flew in and perched about 20’ away, atop the 15’ high hedge, facing me in neutral light (prior to direct sunlight). Plain pale throat, breast, and belly, dark bill and legs, no particular head or facial pattern, and I could not really see the back. Here’s what I did see: (1) The bird fluttered its wings, not as quickly as a Kinglet does, but more regularly than a Hermit Thrush. Each flutter lasted almost a second, and they occurred every 8-10 seconds for as long as the bird stayed there (more than a minute). The tail remained motionless, and (2) the tail was relatively long and very distinctly, cleanly notched. On the folded tail as I saw it, the notch was deeper than wide. When the bird flew to the front of the house, I went out on the front porch and spotted a pale Western Bluebird on a nearby wire, and thought that might be my bird, but noticed that the tail was not notched. Any thoughts or diagnostic questions?

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