NY Oriole-a solution

I’m not that familiar with fall Bullock’s as vagrants in the east (the only one I have seen is an adult male in Goshen, CT in the 90s) but I think this is a first-winter female Baltimore. Worn brownish flight feathers and pointed, worn tail feathers age it as a first-year and the predominantly yellowish-orange tones and clean, unmarked mantle imply it’s a female. Female Baltimore’s can be really variable, but the coloration is strong on the breast and has an orange tinge – good for Baltimore and bad for Bullock’s. The mantle is brown-toned, the ground color of Bullock’s being more grey (often washed with olive), so again good for Baltimore. Also, the undertail coverts, while variable, are bright orange-yellow, another feature, while not diagnostic, is supportive for Baltimore.

HY (First-winter) female Baltimore Oriole, Central Park, NY, Dec. 2011 (David Speiser)

The upper, median wingbar is clean white and seems to lack the pointed dark centres typical of HY Bullock’s (even allowing for the scaps covering the upper wingbar, I think you’d see the pointed centres poking out from underneath). The feathering in front of the eye is slightly ruffled, but I don’t think there is a dark loral line, the kind I’d want to see on a putative Bullock’s. Also, the crown is fairly uniform without a subtler, paler supercilium. In Bullock’s the malar and sides of the earcoverts are often the brightest yellow (rather than the breast) superficially reminiscent of a fall Cape May Warbler.

HY (First-winter) female Baltimore Oriole, Central Park, NY, Dec. 2011 (David Speiser).The areas of the head, upper breast and vent are predominantly orange-toned, which is good for Baltimore,not clearer yellow as in Bullock's. The head pattern, lacking dark lores and a paler, contrasting supercilium are also pro-Baltimore features.

To compare, here’s a link to a similar-plumaged Bullock’s in New Brunswick, that has the appropriate credentials. Thanks to Louis Bevier for comments and bringing this link to my attention and to David for allowing me to use his great shots!




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