Most mystery birds are likely to remain mysteries (which is not always a
This observation was not long enough to provide sufficient detail for
anything more than a speculative identification. Given that caveat and
based on these details: "large" size, gray back and tail, white along
the edges of the tail (but not necessarily the whole length), this bird
sounds most like an adult accipiter, as all three are gray-backed. They
have long white undertail coverts that could be fluffed out to the sides
and visible from behind in some circumstances.
Without another, longer, encounter, it will likely remain a mystery, so
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Justin Woods"
>>> <[log in to unmask]>
>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Sent: Friday, November 20, 2009 7:18 AM
>>> Subject: [VTBIRD] mystery bird
>>> Hey all--
>>> I have a mystery bird, but very few details, maybe not enough to go on...
>>> A couple of mornings ago, a large bird swooped over my car and into a
>>> neighbor's yard -- my first thought was raptor. By large, I mean
>>> Pileated-sized. It flew low over the yard, glided, pumped its wings a
>>> couple of times, and headed back into the trees, much higher.
>>> The thing was all gray on the back, and all I could see were distinctly
>>> white tail (coverts?) feathers on the outside of the tail, which was
>>> otherwise the same color as its back. The colors were clearly
>>> delineated. It reminded me of junco coloring.
>>> Gos? Any other guesses? The mystery is bugging me...