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-   -   Ornithology? (https://community.drew.edu//showthread.php?t=321)

Jennifer A. Heise 10-24-2005 12:38 PM

This morning, I saw two more of a bird on campus that is puzzling me. It doesn't have a jay's profile, per se, and it's very light gray with some wierd blue markings, especially in the lower part of the wings.. I first saw it hopping around in a tree in front the Hall of Sciences; it appeared to be picking bugs out of the bark. Today I saw two of them over by security.

Looking at pictures, I suspect it might be a gray jay:

Anyone know?
-- Jenne Heise

Scott Wood 10-24-2005 05:52 PM


I don't believe any Gray Jay sightings have ever been recorded in NJ. (See New Jersey Bird Records Committe http://www.princeton.edu/~llarson/slist.html)

I would guess you saw a Blue Jay (they are definitely around on campus) and maybe for some reason its crest wasn't obvious. Another possibility is a mockingbird; they have roughly the same size and profile of a gray jay but the behavior you are describing sounds more like a Blue Jay.

Patrick O. Dolan 10-24-2005 08:33 PM

Tufted tit mouse?
Never to doubt Scott Wood about birds, but my first thought was maybe you saw a tufted tit mouse. They're the most popular bird at my feeders at Hannan House & Copper Beech. Google images will show you lots of images to compare.

John D. Muccigrosso 10-25-2005 09:15 AM

I'm not sure you'd confuse it with a jay, but the Nuthatch has the weird habit of walking headfirst down trees, which I believe is nearly unique behavior. So if your bird was doing this, then that's likely what it was.


Otherwise I'm with POD.

Jennifer A. Heise 10-25-2005 11:09 AM

Aside from the markings around the eye, the Nuthatch seems the closest. It wasn't a titmouse as it had no tuft. :) But the first one I saw WAS walking down a tree upside down.

Cool! One more to add to my tiny list of identifiable birds.
Thanks, everyone, for your help and expertise!

-- Jenne Heise

Patrick O. Dolan 10-25-2005 11:49 AM

well nuthatch is another very popular bird at my feeders and they do like to be upside down on trees. the coloring on the head is pretty distinct. Come sit in my office for a few minutes and you're bound to see one!

Scott Wood 10-25-2005 07:10 PM

I think you guys figured it out. Nuthatches and titmouses are about half the size of blue jays so I wasn't really thinking about them. The walking down the tree trunk behavior pretty well diagnoses it as a white-breasted nuthatch!

10-26-2005 02:55 PM

I saw the cutest bird a few days ago and it was very round and reddish/grayish and just prancing about in front of the UC like he owned the place. So good.

Maureen Tauriello 04-06-2006 01:55 PM

It might have been a female cardinal...only the males have the really pretty red feathers.

Golbanou Tabatabaie 05-16-2006 08:29 PM

The coolest thing I've seen a bird do at Drew was one time, outside Welch/Holloway, this hawk grabbed a squirrel and flew away with it. Have you ever heard a small animal scream? It's scary....

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