Monday, December 8, 2008

A NEW BIRD ON MY LIFE LIST!


Yesterday must have been declared All Brown All Day at my feeders; nothing but sparrows, cowbirds, starlings, enlivened only by the grackles and redwing blackbirds. The goldfinches, woodpeckers, nuthatches – everybody else - stayed away as if by command. I was watching from the side window, where the new hopper feeder is hanging, when a puff of yellow caught my eye. After carefully checking all the diagnostic spots (wing bars or no, eye rings or stripes, breast plain or spotted etcetc) I determined it had to be a female Dickcissel. That’s new one for me; better check some range maps. It looked like this area can be part of their extended winter range, but the Pelee Birding site said they are a “provincial rarity.” And it said they often flock with sparrows. That was certainly true for my visitor yesterday. Just goes to show, I said to myself. Even when you think it’s just a bunch of plain brown birds, look closely!

My visitor left before I got a photo, and Google Images doesn’t really have anything that shows female well, so I just scanned and cropped the page from the Golden series, “Birds of North America.” The female is on the left. I’d love to hear anyone else’s Dickcissel stories.

14 comments:

Sylvia K said...

Not sure I've ever seen one, although I have to admit I've seen a number of birds here in Seattle that I hadn't seen before. I'll keep an eye out! In the meantime, if you see him/her again, tell they I said hello!

Sylvia K said...

I also can't spell -- them, not they!

Poetikat said...

No Dicksissels over here (yet), but I'll look more closely at those sparrows out on the porch. I've always wanted to see a red poll. We never seem to get them.

Cowbirds are a hoot - especially in mating season.

Kat

bobbie said...

I've never even heard of this bird. Congratulations on your sighting!

Lin said...

new bird for me. I admire all your learned bird watchers...

Rose said...

I wish I had a story to tell but don't...I am not even sure I have heard of them before now! This is one of the great things about blogging...almost every day I learn some new or interesting fact. And it was fun learning!

Kallen305 said...

I have never heard of the bird either. They look stunning though, I really love that yellow they have.

Good for you. I love the rush I get when I see a new bird!!

gardenpath said...

I haven't seen one here. We don't have red-winged blackbirds now, either. They seem to pass through here, but are not really regular.

Squirrel said...

I ve never even heard the name Dickcissel. I don;t mind all brown at the feeder either--I love sparrows. Could i even get a Dickcissel 18 miles north of NYC?

Squirrel said...

I saw a bobolink in my yard once --several years back. he stayed most of the day. I was pretty excited.

here is a fine art print of a dickcissel


http://fineartamerica.com/featured/dickcissel-summer-song-bruce-morrison.html

Indrani said...

You did look into lots of details. I must watch out next time. I have to learn to distinguish. Nice post, Deborah! Simple encounter, so well told!

Sydney said...

Quite a thrill for such an accomplished birder to find a new kid on the block in your own yard!

Allison said...

Congrats on your sighting! It's always exciting to see something new. I get to take an ornithology class next semester and am very excited about it!

me ann my camera said...

Well I have only one Dicksissel story for its visit was only a one time event for me, several autumns ago. Haw beautiful he was (for I think it was a male) and how exciting to have a little mystery bundle of colour appear under my feeders. I love the challenge of identification for some of my field guide books are like old friends to me. After I identified it, the next big challenge was to pronounce its name for I am not good at sounding out unknown names at times. Congratulations on your discovery and sighting of such a lovely little bird.