My Bird Blog: A blog about my birding discoveries, bird feeders, birds on my life lists, and all things bird related

Sue's Bird Blog Archives

Dickcissel!

Published October 16, 2014
Tags: Life List Happenings, Dickcissel

A Dickcissel was found by Bob McGuire in Tompkins County in a co-op garden plot sponsored by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. When I heard about it (thank you, Tim!), it took me all of about half a minute to decide to go for it, in spite of the long drive.  This would be a life bird and it's been on my Wish List for a few years now.

After I arrived at the garden plot, I watched, scoped, walked, pished, and searched for this coveted bird - but alas, no luck.  Finally, after a couple of hours, and many, many sparrows later, two other birders arrived and hope was rekindled: more eyes - a better chance.

Sure enough, as Brad Walker and I were looking at a beautiful White-crowned Sparrow, Brad noticed a sparrow-like bird fly over that exhibited some yellow on her breast. It was the Dickcissel! She set down on a fence not too far away and, after Brad patiently lead my stubborn eyes to her perch, Gary, Brad, and I got some fantastic looks. Wow! I was thrilled to see this beautiful bird.

The Dickcissel used to be more commonly found in farm areas in the Northeast, but for some reason, probably habitat loss, it has become a bird that inhabits the weed patches and the grain and hay fields of the Midwest. Every now and then though, before migrating to the tropics, an occasional Dickcissel shows up in the Northeast in the fall - luckily for us!

Other birds seen while hunting for the Dickcissel were: White-crowned Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow (MANY), Savannah Sparrow, House Sparrow, Common Raven (spotted by Gary), a Red-tailed Hawk, Rusty Blackbird (spotted by Jay), and two large kettles of Turkey Vultures, numbering well over a hundred, combined.

During the Dickcissel's short perch, I was able to get a few photos of her that I'm adding below...
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Dickcissel (female)
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Dickcissel
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Dickcissel
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Dickcissel