Jim Williams has been watching birds and writing about their antics since before "Gilligan's Island" went into reruns. Join him for his unique insights, his everyday adventures and an open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond.

Dickcissels everywhere

Posted by: Jim Williams under Bird biology, Bird migration, Bird sightings Updated: June 30, 2012 - 9:08 AM

Dickcissels are sparrow-sized grassland birds with a passing resemblence to meadowlarks. Their prime breeding area is to our south, from Iowa into Missouri. Minnesota is on the northern edge of a circle that defines territory Dickcissels visit on an erractic and scattered basis. Some years, few Dickcissels. Other years are like this one -- Dickcissels everywhere. They're even being seen in the metro area, most unusual. They like hayfields, uncut grass shin to knee deep. Some birders in the state are talking of trying to find the species in each of our 87 counties, which would be more than unusual. Wisconsin birders are working on the same project over there. I was near Murdo, South Dakota, yesterday, and, yes, Dickcissels were easy to find. It was the first time I've seen that species in S.D. Dickcssels are late arrivals in spring migration, coming here from wintering grounds in central and South America. I watched courtship yesterday, males chasing females. Here is a Dickcissel found in Carver County last summer. 

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