How is this a red-winged blackbird?

When I posted this, my only question was what kind of sparrow it was. Now the community is all jumping on the red-winged blackbird wagon. Seriously?

Can someone look at this and tell me if I’m crazy or not? I don’t see even the slightest resemblance…

juveniles look like big honkin’ sparrows… females, too.


Other links ID’ed as that species


Look at the bill.


I think it’s just the posture that makes it look weird. The eye stripe, bill shape, and streaking on the breast look like a female RWB to me. Normally they aren’t scrunched up like that, so I suppose it’s similar to how a lot of herons look quite different with their necks retracted vs. sticking way out… Green Herons look small when their necks are back, but they completely change shape when they have them out, you know? Maybe it was cold and it was trying to scrunch up to retain heat, which made it look a lot smaller and rounder than it should.


I don’t want to have to tell you you’re crazy (you did ask though) but without a doubt a female red wing black bird.

I can definitely see how you and others (believe me, you are NOT the first) can get the sparrow vibe from these guys though.

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The uniformly, heavily streaked underparts suggest female or juvenile Red-wing to me. Posture is odd, scrunched down. Beak seems too narrowly pointed for a sparrow, but the odd posture makes it hard to for me to be sure. There are some clues in size and behavior that don’t show up in photos but do help in the field. If the yellowish or orangish wash on the throat is real, that would suggest a juvenile Red-wing to me, too, but I suspect that’s just the evening (or morning) light.

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Well, that seems rather unanimous lol

Picture is from 11 years ago, and no field notes. I did find another photo with two accompanying birds, another female and a larger black bird.

I learned something today!


Well done everyone! I am going to close this topic now, so that any further discussion can be focused back to comments on the observation itself (