Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dickcissels: singing males, a female and song

I found a few singing male Dickcissels in the Ft Lyon, CO area on a quick trip to the are on July 3 in an field of unknown plants that they had begun to harvest so I expected that the Dickcissels would be displaced and leave. On my way down to Lamar this past week I drove down the road where I had seen these and was surprised to hear Dickcissels singing in the field, this one with the more expected alfalfa, next to the one that they had been in previously which was now completely mowed to the ground. It was close to dark so I didn't stay long but with plans to return while down in the lower Arkansas Valley.
I returned with local birder Jill from Lamar and we enjoyed not just hearing them but watching them as they perched on top of the utility wires as well as tall vegetation to sing.
The photo below is a female Dickcissel, which I only infrequently see and rarely get to photograph. The sun was so bright that it really washed out the photos of her.
The female looks like the male but does not have the black bib and duller than the male. You can see the yellow stripe over her eye if you enlarge the photo. Since this female was present near the singing males and at least one male flew down by her, I suspect they are nesting in this new alfalfa field/
Below is a recording of one of the males singing--this is the song that is most often sung by the Dickcissels I sometimes have in Canon City but different from the northern front range birds. There were at least two different songs being sung by the four (or possibly more) Dickcissels we heard in that field. SeEtta
I also found Dickcissels in a field north of this field, in a field in the Ft Lyon State Wildlife Area and in a field near Lamar. Not as many as I have found in some years but more than I have found in several of the years during the drought conditions. SeEtta