Thursday, February 5, 2009

DRINK Your Tea

No, I'm not ordering you around. As it turns out, "DRINK-you-tea" is the call of this black-hooded bird as described in the National Audubon Society's Concise Birdfeeder Handbook. Too funny!

I owe a big thanks to Karen, who I think correctly identified him! She suggested that this guy was a Spotted Tohee. At first, I didn't think it could be, since I didn't remember white spots on his back. But after looking at some other pictures I took, I found spots on him! See?

I say him, because the female is supposed to have a brown hood.

According to the little map next to his picture in my handbook, we must be on the very northern reaches of his range.

He is also part of the Sparrow family. I'm guessing that we don't usually see him because his normal feeding habit is to scratch for seeds and insects under cover. Unfortunately, for him, the ground has a thick crusty coat of snow on it--even under bushes, thanks to the wind. That, and temperatures below zero must make it pretty tough on the birds. But how cool to see him!

I think Christina is right, too, about the other little bird being some sort of a sparrow.

I went back and looked more closely at the sparrows in my handbook and found that this little bird is an American Tree Sparrow. The tell tale mark? A little blotch on the breast that I missed before! Thanks, Christina for pointing me in the right direction!

You guys are great! Since I often find myself talking to the birds, it's nice to know their names. :)

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