The Cornell Lab Bird Academy Discussion Groups Bird Identification I’d love help identifying this bird

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    • Scott
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      ShrikeQuest
      Apologies for the poor picture quality. I couldn’t get too close because I was afraid I might scare the bird. I must have been moving while I took the pictures because they are out of focus. This bird visited the oak tree in my back garden 2 years ago. I’ve been trying to identify it with no luck ever since. I live on the Central Coast of California. My house sits a few miles South of a birders paradise- the Elkhorn Slough and across the street from a pond surrounded by marsh and tall grasses. I am very lucky to see a diverse array of songbirds and waterfowl. I can identify most birds that I see but not this one. This one was unique. The bird was the size of a Robin, it had a stout beak and a dark band on the sides of its head. It appeared darker than the color seen in the pictures. The belly/breast seemed more plump than it appears in the pics and was quite a bit lighter in color near the feet than what’s seen here in the pictures. After scouring the web, my guess is it’s a shrike? Is this bird a type of a shrike? I’ve seen records of Loggerhead Shrike spotted at nearby Elkhorn Slough but that species is more of a light gray color compared to ‘my bird.’ Is it possible that it’s a juvenile shrike? Thank you in advance for your help and your time, cheers.  03B5671D-8D9A-46A6-AD5C-F6518746315158D4834D-9DBE-4694-AA4C-72673A20A37E
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    • CHLOE
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      TheMushroom
      Bay-backed_shrike_(Lanius_vittatus)_Photograph_by_Shantanu_Kuveskardid it look like this? If so it is a Bay- Backed Shrike. here is some info about them The bay-backed shrike has a characteristic upright "shrike" attitude perched on a bush, from which it sallies after lizards, large insects, small birds and rodents. Prey may be impaled upon a sharp point, such as a thorn. http://natureconservation.in/bay-backed-shrike-lanius-vittatus-complete-detail-updated/#:~:text=Distinctive%20Identification&text=20%E2%80%9328%20g.-,Bay%20backed%20shrike%20have%20grey%20and%20white%20head%20with%20a,white%2C%20but%20with%20buff%20flanks.
    • Lee Ann van Leer
      Bird Academy
      LilacRoller
      This is a Black-headed Grosbeak, female or immature. You were so hot on the trail when you used the phrase "stout beak". Black-headed Grosbeak ID
      • Little Bit
        Participant
        Chirps: 24
        Little_Bit
        Looks like it
    • Eric
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      shark_7
      Hi Scott, I'm not from California, but I think that the bird is a Black-headed Grosbeak. I recommend you to search on eBird page more info (https://ebird.org/species/bkhgro/) to confirm the observation.   Eric
      • Scott
        Participant
        Chirps: 12
        ShrikeQuest
        Cheers Eric, thank you for taking the time to help me. I did some nosing around and I think you’re spot on- the female Black-headed Grosbeak has the same coloring as well as the streaks/markings on the sides of her head. The bird I saw must have been a fully grown female- she was more chunky and rounder than how she looks in the pictures. Many thanks, Im glad I joined this community of knowledgeable bird watchers. Cheers, Scott.
      • Eric
        Participant
        Chirps: 7
        shark_7

        @Scott Hi Scott, You're welcome.

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