Saturday, July 8, 2017

Dickcissel in Manitoba

The Dickcissel (Spiza americana) may look like a yellowish House Sparrow (and they may even flock together) but it is in the cardinal family (Cardinalidae). This is a fascinating grassland bird, although it likes tall vegetation that includes hay fields and rice paddies. This species migrates to northern South America in massive flocks many thousand strong, and by the time they reach South America the flocks can number in the millions. The Dickcissel is an irruptive species and in most years is rare or absent from Manitoba, which is outside their “core” range. In irruption years, such as 2012 and 2017 though birders look for them across the south of the province. Here are two of eight I photographed near St. Claude.

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