Image: Joseph Kennedy, 26 February 2007 [larger view].
Nikon D200, Kowa 883 telescope TSN-PZ camera eyepiece 1/750s f/8.0 at 500.0mm iso400.
Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.
Rick Wright, Managing Director of WINGS Birding Tours Worldwide, writes:
[Along] With House Sparrow, this is the favorite species of every Ornithology TA when it comes time to administer the semester’s field practicum. And it’s a bird that vexes the beginner no end, while it comes easily to birders with even a little experience.
Let’s look at habitat. The bird appears to be perched on a large, robust grass, of the sort one might expect in a marshy edge or a wet ditch. Bells ringing yet? Its streaky plumage might suggest an emberizid sparrow, but in reality there are no emberizids this densely and darkly streaked and striped. The strong legs and feet and the spike-like bill point us in the right direction: this is an icterid, a New World blackbird.
From there it’s easy. The moderately long tail with scalloped undertail coverts, the rusty tone of the wing with the clear white tips on the median coverts, the heavily streaked underparts, and the hint of pink at the front of the long, clear supercilium make this a Red-winged Blackbird.
What about Tricolored? A bird of that species in the analogous plumage would show a solidly dark belly contrasting with the paler streaked breast. And it wouldn’t be in Texas, either, though I confess that that’s the easy way out of an identification problem that can at times be more challenging than this classically well-marked red-wing makes it look.
Review all mystery birds to date.