Bird ID, please - SE Vermont

Hmm. Other than the red (which I’m sure I would’ve seen, as I did get a pretty good look at the two birds), the rose-breasted grossbeak kinda does look like them.

https://www.google.com/search?num=10&hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&q=rose-breasted+grossbeak&oq=rose-breasted+grossbeak&gs_l=img.3..0i10i33l6j0i5i10i24j0i10i33i24.819.819.0.1738.1.1.0.0.0.0.58.58.1.1.0...0.0.puQp9lyexNg&biw=1032&bih=762&sei=_zT-T4ChHMWmrQH3go2LCQ

How about a female Black Backed Woodpecker?

You may also want to examine List of Birds in Vermont.

That woodpecker has a distinct resemblance, too. Thanks!

I was going to go through all the shorebirds I could find, just based on your mallard-head-and-feathers-out-the-back description.

Now I see you’re leaning towards a woodpecker or grosbeak. Let’s end this foolishness now;
Behold, the Rufous-sided Towhee

Eh? Eh?

What do I win?
Source: Roger Tory Peterson: Eastern Birds

Nope, neither of the two birds I saw had any red at all.

Check out that site again. The female rose-breasted grosbeak does not have any red. Neither does the male in non-breeding plumage; however, breeding plumage is from Mar to Aug. Possibly a female rose-breasted?