What bird is this? (Bay Area edition)
November 16, 2015 12:18 PM   Subscribe

My neighbors, who raise backyard quail, were given another bird about a month ago by someone who apparently found her (him?) in a gutter nearby. Initial assumption was that NewBird was also a quail...but six weeks later, it's pretty clear that isn't the case. Local wildlife agencies have been slow to get back to my neighbors -- any bird experts in the house here want to weigh in? (Additional details and photos within.)

When my neighbors were first given this birdling, she* was estimated to be about 2 weeks old (refer to adorable wee birdlet photo 1 and adorable wee birdlet photo 2).

She happily ate the same food as the existing quail, and was/is thriving on that in addition to worms and whatever else she can forage from the yard. My neighbors had been figuring that if a wildlife rescue place wouldn't take her, she could just join the existing quail society...but they recently had to separate her from the other birds due to her increasing size (see here for an updated photo taken yesterday -- my neighbors' ~11 year old daughter is holding her, to give an idea of scale -- and here for another photo of the increasingly magnificent creature).

So...basically, at 6 weeks old, this bird is roughly 14" long from tip of beak to tail, and my neighbors have been calling everyone from various local wildlife agencies to the zoo trying to figure out what she really is and (accordingly) how to make sure they proceed in the bird's best interests.

Right now their best guess is "wild turkey", which seems plausible (especially given current size) but neither I nor anyone in my immediate circle is enough of a bird expert to be able to tell whether she's that or a chicken, pheasant, grouse, or even a peafowl. I've been googling the heck out of all these birds, and it's pretty incredible how similar they can look prior to reaching full maturity. I'll note that while she looks wild, she acts very tame (she follows neighbor kids around like a dog), but I know nothing about the relative susceptibility of various bird species to human acclimation.

In short, if anyone can pick something out of the photos that suggests this is definitely one type of bird and not another, that would be GREATLY appreciated!

* Technically, gender is unconfirmed, but it can be hard to tell with birds until they're a bit older. So "she" here = "she, until any evidence to the contrary emerges".
posted by aecorwin to Pets & Animals (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: That's a chicken. Probably an Ameraucana mutt of some sort. (If it's a lady chicken, its eggs will be blue or green!)

Google Ameraucana chick.
posted by purpleclover at 12:22 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

Aw, yep, back that up on the Ameraucana. Lovely birds.
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:27 PM on November 16, 2015

Best answer: Yup, seconding chicken, and a lovely one at that. I would also guess some sort of Araucana mutt mix.

They're lovely birds, the Araucana mutts, and can have all sorts of markings and habits -- I had one who looked like a tiny hawk and hung out on my shoulder.
posted by pie ninja at 12:28 PM on November 16, 2015 [5 favorites]

Araucana mixes are generally called Easter Eggers due to the color of their eggs. Just FYI.
posted by Sophie1 at 1:09 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, folks! You've convinced me (and by proxy, my neighbor) that they've most likely got a totally gorgeous chicken on their hands. :D
posted by aecorwin at 2:42 PM on November 16, 2015

Best answer: And now the wait begins!
posted by mudpuppie at 2:45 PM on November 16, 2015

what amazing feathers! you'll have to send some to nevercalm for photographing!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:21 PM on November 16, 2015

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