Monday, June 13, 2016


Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Dickcissel, Central park
Fine young Dickcissel

Late in the Spring migration, Central Park got an unexpected visitor in a young male Dickcissel. Dickcissel are midwestern birds. We get one or two here in the Fall, usually young birds going off-course in their first migration. Getting one in the Spring was very unusual, but welcome--the autumn birds are rather dull, resembling big House Sparrows, while this was a fine male--probably in his first Spring, judging by the small size of the black V on his yellow breast, and the presence of some white in the black area.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Dickcissel and House Sparrow fledgling
Go away kid, ya bother me

When Dickcissels show up here, they usually associate with flocks of House Sparrows, which makes sense--they're brownish seed-eating birds, like female Dickcissels, and they forage in flocks like Dickcissels. This bird was no exception, though it didn't get along with the sparrows as well as the autumn visitors I've seen before. They quarreled a bit; perhaps that was due to the rush of testosterone in the young Dickcissel.

The Dickcissel seemed especially bothered by the House Sparrow fledglings, whose begging drove it off its perch a couple of times.

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