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Thread subject: Deformed Beak in Sparrow?
Name Date Message
Celeste 11/18/11 04:37 pm Since the summer we have seen this bird at our feeder outside of our window. Since I am still a work in progress I was trying to figure out what bird this was, and try as I might I couldn't find any evidence of a bird that looked like this.

We've been trying to get a photo of this bird for weeks. It's a bit skittish, doesn't like to eat with the other birds, will grab a seed and sit on a nearby bush to eat and wait till the feeder is free of birds, and will grab another seed and fly away. Today was a rather chilly day, and outside of my kitchen window the bird was sitting on a bush taking the warm sun. I've had my camera at the ready for weeks, and I finally caught some photos. After showing Cecilia, and now reading several articles, it must be some sort of sparrow with a deformed beak. It seems that more and more of these things are occurring recently starting first on the West Coast and now in the East. I saw photos online of chickadees with deformed long curling beaks, crows, etc. It seems once again our environment and the pollutants are affecting our birds. It's likely that this bird will eventually not be able to eat if it's beak continues to grow. Very sad. We had at first nicknamed him "Gonzo" after the "Muppets", before we found out that he was probably deformed.

deformed beak
Melanie 11/18/11 04:51 pm Either that or it is a late warbler in the witness protection program!
Shelley 11/18/11 06:14 pm Yikes! I have not seen such a thing! Poor bird!
Pam 11/19/11 07:54 am Oh poor thing. Still, it seems to be surviving with your help.
martyc35 11/19/11 12:35 pm That is very sad. Lineatus had a goldfinch at her feeder last weekend who had a bably broken beak (probably flew into a window), but she thought it would regrow the damaged part and be okay. You know, thrashers with steeply curved beaks evolved that way for a special kind of foraging, but this looks like a case of probable doom for the bird because it won't know how to adapt. Sorry, Celeste. It's painful to watch.
jazzel26 11/19/11 10:29 pm Celeste, I hope you will report this. Link.
Celeste 11/19/11 11:21 pm I just filled out the report and mailed digital copies of the photos. Thanks Jazzel!
Peter 11/20/11 01:43 pm Thanks jazzel26. Fascinating article you posted, and especially interesting that this appears to be an adult-onset development across a wide geographic area and many species.

Bizzare Beaks article

An online search for "bizarre beaks" yields earlier articles from the Pacific NW.

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Last modified: Sun March 7, 2010