Birding/identify a bird

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Question
I live in Massachusetts, and have been seeing a bird , several times and in #' s (10 or so), all over many branches.  It was about the size of a robin, with thin brown and black vertical lines on the sides and I think there was a large black spot on the underside, close to the tail feathers.  This was in mid-late summer.  I tried to take pics, but they flew too fast. It seemed like they were in attack mode, flying and darting all over the place! I went out to check them out and brought a large stick for protection!
Any ideas? It was very interesting watching them

Answer
Well your description of the birds does not tell me much.  I'd need more information to identify it, like overall color, shape of beak, length of tail , or anything else. But the fact that they are the size of robins and were in large groups in a tree in the late summer tells me something. They could be blackbirds, young robins, or starlings. Not too many birds behave the way you describe. Some birds like these flock in the fall as protection against predators and help in finding food. They were just communicating with each other when you saw them or something scared them - you or a cat or something.

You don't need a large (or small) stick for protection against any birds. I've been studying them close up for 50 years and have never been touched by one unless I handled it.

Hope that's helpful.

Birding

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Roger Lederer

Expertise

Any and all about WILD birds - the science of ornithology. Information about birdwatching, ecology, conservation, migration, behavior, banding, rehabilitation, feeding, songs, binoculars, identification, and careers in ornithology. No questions about pet or caged birds, please.

Experience

Have a PhD and over forty years as a professional ornithologist - research, teaching, author, speaker, webmaster of Ornithology.com . Have written thirty scientific papers, three bird field guides, a textbook in ecology four other bird books, the latest being "Beaks, Bones, and Bird Songs". Have traveled to 100 countries watching birds and have spoken to hundreds of groups about birds.

Education/Credentials
PhD in Zoology/Ornithology; Emeritus Professor of Biological Sciences; former Dean of the College of Natural Sciences at California State University, Chico

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