web analytics

Dickcissel (Spiza americana)

Posted on Oct 18, 2015

The highlight of my Sunday birding was this Dickcissel (Spiza americana). My friend, and terrific birder, Tom Murray and I had crippling views of this bird after we spotted it simultaneously among so very many sparrow migrants. It hid on us for about 20 minutes after we first got a quick glance for the initial identification, eventually granting prolonged looks.

Dickcissel Stratford greenway-4026

Dickcissel Stratford greenway-4009

Dickcissel Stratford greenway-3968

Dickcissel Stratford greenway-3945

Persistence pays off! Patience (and sometimes a lot of silence instead of pishing) often helps when you want to a better look a specific individual. This bird of the prairies and grasslands of the Central and Midwestern United States is always an awesome autumn treat for us in the East, especially when they are not simply flyovers at a hawk watch site. We were also happy to see a Northern Goshawk a short time after this sighting that seemed like it was looking for lunch during a day of migration. A bit later we found a late Magnolia Warbler, one bird that should leave for warmer quarters tonight. After a weekend of snow and temperatures well below freezing you can expect even more migrants and a different mix of birds for Monday morning.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator