Monday, May 16, 2011

Bird a Day: Dickcissel

Dickcissel are birds of grasslands and prairies and are pretty rare in Jefferson County.  There are several singing males at the landfill however and this guy approached close and was belting away his tune.  Dickcissels may not be common in our area but they amass in the thousands on their migration south to northern South America in Venezuela and Columbia.  They gather in such strong numbers in Venezuela that they are considered pests by farmers and unfortunately their roosts are crop dusted with pesticides to kill them in large numbers.  They are still a numerous bird but this is becoming such an increasingly common practice in their wintering grounds that attention is being paid to their population numbers and conservation of the species is underway. 

Dickcissel

Dickcissel

Dickcissel

Male Dickcissels look like little meadowlarks.  They have a yellow breast with a dark black V below the throat.  Males have beautiful chestnut colored shouldered patch and a yellow eye stripe.  Their song is a dry dick, dick, ciss, ciss, ciss, which is where they get their name.  Females resemble female House Sparrows but with yellow on the eyes and breast. 

5 comments:

Kristi Hines said...

He (or she) is very expressive! :)

Mike B. said...

That is a super cool looking bird! I have not seen that here- guessing it doesn't make its way up to the northwest.

T. Travis Brown said...

Beautiful shots!

Ryan Ankeny said...

Thanks all!

@Mike - They are pretty much a grassland species so sorry, no luck in the NW.

Jean said...

This bird is on my wish list. Wonderful captures and I really liked the video!

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