Thursday, April 29, 2010

European Starling, Rusty Blackbird and Common Grackle

The European Starling is a very common bird. They are around all year long and take on several different looks. They appear small and they appear large. They look black, iridescent, and multi-colored speckled, like this one. I got this shot from my patio door. Every now and then a nice bird decides to land in and around my yard.
This is a male Rusty Blackbird. Although this bird is considered fairly common in Newfoundland, there seem to be rare sightings. It is black overall with a bluish tint to its wings and tail. It has black legs and a yellow eye. In order to get this shot on Cape Race road, I had to chase it from both sides of the road and in through the thicket. When it did land, it picked the worst possible place as far as lighting goes and then, it sat there and sang for a while.
This Common Grackle was found near a feeder in a yard in a small community on the Southern Shore. According to the field guides, this bird is more rare than the Rusty Blackbird. There are many similarities between this bird and the Rusty Blackbird like the long black bill, yellow eyes and black feet. It may be best to identify this bird by its faint iridescent purplish color and markings.
It is very easy to confuse the birds from a distance and a challenge to accurately identify them even when close. It is always a good idea to take a picture and use the field guide to make an identification. If that fails there is always the "wingingit" source offered by Bruce McTavish of The Telegram.
Bird Walk Correction
The bird walk will be at the Botanical Gardens this Sunday morning, May 2, 2010, at 8:00 a.m. This walk will take approximately 2 hours.

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