What bird do I have in my backyard?

I am in Indianapolis. Today, our back yard has the normal visitors, along with a small flock (10-20) of something I don’t recognize. It looks kind of like a cross of a starling, grackle, and cowbird. Larger than a robin, smaller than a blue jay. I tried to take some photos, but as soon as I open the back door they fly away. I’ll try later if you think it might help. FWIW, they are most interested in the apple pieces.

I’m assuming from your comparators that the birds were black. Assuming you’d have pointed out the bright red epaulet if it was a red-winged blackbird, I am going to call them Rusty Blackbirds. They flock, they eat fruit, they’re about that size, and they are mostly black. Did any of them have kind of a rusty brown wash to them?

From the vague description, crowds of starling sized, dark colored birds eating pieces on the ground could be slate colored juncos. Matches their m.o. and appearance to some degree. A more precise description would certainly elicit more accurate responses here.

Not the junco. The rusty blackbird isn’t quite right either. Of course, now that the fruit is all gone they’ve flown away. Hmm … think I have some grapes around here.

paging Colibri

Not really in their range, but the only other all-black, medium sized bird in the US in the winter that hasnt been mentioned is the Brewer’s Blackbird. Very similar to the rusty.

To be more specific and helpful, it had the iridescent head like a grackle, dark back like a ??? and spotted sides and underside of a starling. All the starling pictures I see show more black and white spotting than what I see.

OH … and it walks as opposed to hopping, if that helps.

What color was the beak? The only black bird in the US with a yellow beak is the starling. (Although in winter, you may not see that, either).

Aah, male starlings change over the course of the year from almost no spotting to all-over spotting and back. It has to do with feather wear. And they walk instead of hopping.

They must be starlings. Yellow beaks and various grades of mottling. Thanks!

Unless you have one of those super-comprehensive field guides with like 10 different images of the same species, the one image you usually get is very idealized and generic (for lack of a better word). Actual individual birds can vary quite a bit in some species.