8-14 January 2006

Installment #300---
Visitor #

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Join us for another
Winter Hummingbird Expedition to Costa Rica
in February 2006


Back to Part 1

Now wait a minute. Some of you gave up TOO easily. Since environmental education is our passion at Hilton Pond Center, perhaps we should guide you by giving some hints before revealing what our Mystery Bird really is.

Here are some hints. (Feel free to click on the link below to "I Know What It Is!" if you must, but please humor us instead and read ALL the hints before clicking.)

  1. As you can tell from the hand in the photo, the Mystery Bird is relatively large--at least when compared to many backyard feeder birds. Actual size tip to tip is about 11" or so.
  2. The Mystery Bird has a pale, yellowish eye.
  3. The Mystery Bird also has a rather stout, straight, pointed bill.
  4. As shown by the photo, the Mystery Bird has no legs. (Just kidding. The legs are actually somewhat long, with rather large, powerful toes and sharp claws.)
  5. The Mystery Bird is often found in large flocks in the Carolina Piedmont, especially in winter.
  6. The plumage of our Mystery Bird in the photo above is abnormal.
  7. In a "normal" bird of this species, ALL the feathers would look black rather than brown.
  8. Some of those normal feathers would have a noticeable metallic green or purple sheen, paricularly on the heads of adults.
  9. The Mystery Bird's scientific name is a semi-repetitive Quiscalus quiscula.
  10. When the Mystery Bird joins a winter feeding flock of its own species, they all make lots of noise that to some ears sounds like a raucous Grack . . . Grack . . . Grack . . . .
  11. For the answer--and for lots more info and photos about the Mystery Bird, click on:


All text & photos © Hilton Pond Center

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Be sure to scroll down for an account of all birds banded or recaptured during the week, plus other nature notes of interest.

"This Week at Hilton Pond" is written & photographed
by Bill Hilton Jr., executive director of
Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History.

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Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History is a non-profit research & education organization in York, South Carolina USA; phone (803) 684-5852. Directed by Bill Hilton Jr., aka The Piedmont Naturalist, it is the parent organization for Operation RubyThroat. Contents of this Web site--including articles and photos--may NOT be duplicated, modified, or used in any way except with the express written permission of Hilton Pond Center. All rights reserved worldwide. To obtain permission for use or for further assistance on accessing this Web site, contact the Webmaster.

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