By Ken Hooles, Daily Observer
Wednesday, May 25, 2016 3:40:37 EDT PM
During spring migration, you just never know what bird may appear at your bird feeder. On Thursday, May 12, a rare mid-western bird called a Dickcissel arrived at the feeder of Brian and Judy Mohns of Black Bay. This bird stayed just one night but long enough for Rob Cunningham and me to confirm the bird sighting and photograph it for our county records. This is only the second record of this bird in our area; the last sighting of Dickcissel was 38 years ago on October 1, 1978, by Bill Walker, formerly of Deep River.
The Dickcissel (Spiza Americana) gets its name from its familiar call of 'dick-dick-dick-cissel.' It is normally found in grassy or weedy fields and tall grass prairies that have scattered scrubs, trees, or hedgerows.
This bird is generally the size of a House Sparrow but has a slender and slightly longer bill. It is sometimes mistaken for a small Meadowlark. This bird has plain gray-brown cheeks, yellow breasts, yellowish eyebrow, and a white chin and white under parts. The male, especially during breeding season, has a black bib on the chest underneath its white throat.
During the spring and summer, the Dickcissel tends to be solitary or found in pairs. In the fall, it joins large groups of birds during migration. The male Dickcissel is often seen in the spring singing from a high perch and in flight. This bird mainly eats insects, grains, and seeds. During winter and migration it is seen feeding at bird feeders.
The Dickcissel is primary polygamous, or in other words, has several mates. The nest of the bird is built by the female and is usually located in a low tree or bush anywhere from one to six feet above the ground. The nest is made of grasses, stems and leave and is lined with rootlets, grasses and hairs.