A day trip to Renews about ten days ago only offered up a very quick glimpse of a Dickcissel. It didn't even stay around long enough for me to take a picture. Time was short, and I couldn't wait for its return. It was a little disappointing. Well, that disappointment turned to delight when it was reported a Dickcissel had shown up at a feeder downtown.
Within minutes of my arrival, I happened upon lots of House Sparrows and then, there it was - the target bird! This one was very accommodating as it sat out in the open for quite some time.
I stayed only as long as was appropriate when gawking into someones backyard, leaving quite satisfied that I had a really good look of this vagrant visitor. Each year, several Dickcissels are reported on the Avalon, but not all as handy as this one.
When I got up the next day, I found a post on the discussion group reporting there were now TWO Dickcissels at the feeder. Well, I had to go see them both. The weather on the second day was less than inviting with rain and high winds. All viewing was from a bit of a distance; nevertheless in a warm car.
It was very interesting to observe the behaviour of the Dickcissel. It was the aggressive one on the feeder. It often fussed at the House Sparrows until it drove them away. The feeding Dickcissels were not nearly as nice as when sitting with the sparrows on the fence.
I also observed the Dickcissel sinking its head deep into its body as shown in this picture taken on the first day. I have several shots from both days when the bird was doing this. I don't know why but found it very interesting behaviour.
On the windy day the Dickcissel would spread its tail feathers to try to hang on to the food. Despite the conditions, all birds were feeding very well. Note: The pair have driven off the sparrows on this feeder. It was good there were two feeders hanging in the yard.
On the third day, both Dickcissels were still present and feeding well. Looking healthy and strong, it is likely they will soon begin their trip to the wintering grounds that range from Mexico and South America. However, if they have any sense, they will wait until Hurricane Sandy passes.
I wonder what, if anything, that mega storm may blow our direction.