Wednesday, June 19, 2013
I saw a little bird on the bird bath the other day. I don't know that I would have given it a second glance except that it started bobbing it's back end regularly. That got my attention. I only know of one other species that bobs it back end and it definitely wasn't a Spotted Sandpiper.
The other thing that it was doing was eating mosquito larvae in the bird bath. I have never seen any of our regular visitors show any interest in eating them.
So, I grabbed the camera. You can note all the markings on a bird and maybe come up with it's identification, but a picture, or several pictures, of it's different markings allows you to not have to depend on your memory. Plus, you can show it to other people and get their input - which is what I did - even though I thought I was pretty sure what it was after looking through a bird book.
Bill shape (at least to my way of thinking) is a big clue about the general family of birds of which the particular bird is a member. That, and the size of the bird. The breast is streaked (not spotted or plain), so that narrows down the choices. The white eye ring and eyebrow are also good clues. The general brown coloring on the back without any other visible markings is yet another clue.
I narrowed it down to an American Pipit and was pretty sure I had nailed it. I sent some of the pictures off to a very knowledgeable guy who has helped me numerous times in the past. I was surprised how quickly he got back to me and told me it was a Louisiana Waterthrush. He (and then later, another birder) was surprised that it came to the bird bath. Neither had ever known one to do that. I seen it two more times in the last few days chasing bugs on the driveway. So, maybe it isn't just passing through the area like I originally thought.