What bird did I see?

A little bird sat right outside my office window today.

Sort of tan in color. I guessed it was a female cardinal, because it had a tuft like that, except it’s beak was black, and a black band ran from it’s beak across it’s eyes like a raccoon (maybe right aboce it’s eyes).

It had two white spots on it’s back where it’s wings came in.

Any ideas?

Possibly a cedar waxwing or a bohemian waxwing

And if your office is in Baltimore, it’s likely to be the first of these two.

Reminds me of when I saw what must have been a couple of cedar waxwings a couple of years ago.

Had a good, long, close look at them while canoeing on a lake, and tried to memorize them as best I could. When I got back to the cabin, I pulled out the bird book (Peterson) and - as usual - no birds in there seemed to exactly resemble what I remembered seeing.

Couple of weeks ago a few of us saw a couple of birds on the golf course. As I remember them, they similar in size to a redwinged blackbird, had beautiful yellow backs, with but completely black heads, wings, and breasts. I assumed they were a type of oriole, but nothing of the type appeared in my book. I even remembered thir call - there were several of them - but my recollection did not seem to resemble the book description.

I have NO idea how birders do it. Especially when it comes to the hundreds of LBBs.

I agree that Cedar Waxwing is the most likely ID for the bird in the OP.

Sounds like a male Bobolink

Practice, man, practice. It’s even worse here in the tropics with all the small flycatchers.

Not a bobolink.
The entire back was yellow, and there was no white on the black parts.
I remembered thinking the coloration pattern resembled the common swallow in the area - dark cap, back, and wings, colored underneath.
Hey - maybe it’s a new species. Can I name it the Dinsdalia 4th fairwai? :wink:

Cedar waxwing looks right. This one wasn’t as chubby as that, and I didn’t notice the white highlights around the black eye bands, but other than that, I think that’s it.


That’s a nice looking bird. I got a great look at him. Probably 15 feet away and sat there for like 30 seconds, and showed me his (her?) profile, front and back.

Well, you’ve stumped me, then. Aside from the Bobolink, there isn’t any North American bird that I can think of that even approximately matches your description. I suppose they might have been escaped cage birds, or else something is amiss with the way you are remembering or describing the birds. (I mean no offense by this, but since I am often sent descriptions of birds by amateurs, I am sometimes amazed by how much they can differ from my own mental image of the same bird - either in the tone of the colors described, or their placement, or the omission of key details.)

I could probably describe one of those a month based on some of the descriptions I get. :slight_smile:

Hey - no offense taken. And I appreciate your time.
I know the feeling well myself - I work so hard to remember characteristics, and then when I don’t see them in the book, I doubt my memory. I think the identification of “key details” is key. I suspect I am focussing on the wrong things needed to make an ID.

One of the few “successes” I had was when I identified that huge loud bird as a female pileated woodpecker. But that was about as easy as it comes. (Unless it was an ivorybill! ;))

I pulled up a couple of shots of orioles this a.m. and questioned whether I had the back and belly reversed. Perhaps it was yellow belly instead of back. But I clearly remember that it was yellow instead of orange. I think I confidently told my partners that the were orioles “You know, some are yellow like that instead of orange.” Idiot!

Moreover, no white was apparent. And I have seen (and heard) orioles before. At the time I had recalled the bird’s song (tho I don’t remember it now.) I recall that it was more complex than the book described and I recalled for an oriole.

I’m pretty sure it had a black head, because I remember commenting to another guy that I had never seen a yellow-headed blackbird, tho they are supposedly somewhat common in my area.

One of the best things about golf is the birds you see. There are nesting redtail hawks on a couple of courses I frequent. The other day there was one on the ground with a broken wing. We called the cops, figuring they would contact the wildlife rehab facility less than a mile away. Instead, I saw a community services officer heading out with what looked like a pillowcase and a pet carrier. I remember thinking that he was about to have a very bad day…

It would help if I knew your approximate location (other than a golf course).

About 25 miles west of Chicago, along the DuPage River.
Several acres of wetlands immediately to the north, and a forest preserve and the Morton Arboretum across a major road immediately to the south.
it was probably a month ago or less.
Maybe 8:30 in the morning.

Yellow-headed Blackbird? Tho in Chicago in the summer not a likely sighting…


Yellow is on the breast but you yourself said they were colored underneath (if you
are confused on this point)…