The American Pipit (Anthus rubescens) is a ground foraging, grassland bird that overwinters in the southern half of the U.S. although it can be found in northern areas, like Maryland.
Uncommonly seen in trees, these pictures were taken when I accidentally flushed a large flock from a field I was walking through.
My initial thought was that they were some sort of sparrow or thrush, but they lacked the detailed field marks that most sparrows have (the proportions were also off) and their plumage appeared to be too drab to be a thrush (thrushes only go through one molt per year and it isn’t for mating or seasonal reasons).
Perhaps they were young birds? But so many and so early? Also, as you can see from the photos, they kind of look like a different bird in each image.
The bill shape and buff-colored feathers on the breast were what narrowed the ID down to American Pipits — in trees no less!
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