ABOUT BIRDS - ARTICLES

Published by Ken Dunn - Dunway Enterprises

aboutbirds.dunway.com

The origin of birds has been a contentious topic within evolutionary biology for many years, but more recently a scientific consensus has emerged which holds that birds are a group of theropod dinosaurs that evolved during the Mesozoic Era.

A close relationship between birds and dinosaurs was first proposed in the nineteenth century after the discovery of the primitive bird Archaeopteryx in Germany and has been all but confirmed since the 1960's by comparative anatomy and the cladistic method of analyzing evolutionary relationships.

The ongoing discovery of feathered dinosaur fossils in the Liaoning Province of China has shed new light on the subject for both specialists and the general public. In the phylogenetic sense, birds are dinosaurs.

ALL ABOUT BIRDS - ARTICLES

PHOEBE - DOWNY WOODPECKER - YELLOW-BELLIED WOODPECKER
GREAT-CRESTED FLYCATCHER - BLACKPOLL WARBLER - CHIMNEY SWIFT - KINGBIRD
THE CHEWINK - SNOWFLAKE - ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK - BOBOLINK - WOOD PEWEE

BIRD WATCHING - BASIC INFORMATION

All About Birds [Articles] Identify Birds All About Birds [Articles] Bird Watching All About Birds [Articles] Bird Guide All About Birds [Articles] WildBirds

A Guide To Bird Neighbours - Part 5

BOBOLINK
(Dolichonyx Oryzivorus)
Blackbird Family

Called also: REEDBIRD; MAYBIRD; MEADOW-BIRD; AMERICAN ORTOLAN;
BUTTER-BIRD; SKUNK BLACKBIRD

  • Length - 7 inches. A trifle larger than the English sparrow.

  • Male - In spring plumage: black, with light-yellow patch on upper neck, also on edges of wings and tail feathers. Rump and upper wings splashed with white. Middle of back streaked with pale buff. Tail feathers have pointed tips. In autumn plumage, resembles female.

  • Female - Dull yellow-brown, with light and dark dashes on back. wings, and tail. Two decided dark stripes on top of head.

  • Range - North America, from eastern coast to western prairies. Migrates in early autumn to Southern States, and in winter to South America and West Indies.

  • Migrations -Early May. From August to October. Common summer resident.

Perhaps none of our birds have so fitted into song and story as the bobolink. Unlike a good child, who should "be seen and not heard," he is heard more frequently than seen. Very shy, of peering eyes, he keeps well out of sight in the meadow grass before entrancing our listening ears.

The bobolink never soars like the lark, as the poets would have us believe, but generally sings on the wing, flying with a peculiar self-conscious flight horizontally thirty or forty feet above the meadow grass. He also sings perched upon the fence or tuft of grass. He is one of the greatest poseurs among the birds.

In spring and early summer the bobolinks respond to every poet's effort to imitate their notes. "Dignified 'Robert of Lincoln' is telling his name," says one; "Spink, spank, spink," another hears him say. But best of all are Wilson Flagg's lines:

". . . Now they rise and now they fly;

They cross and turn, and in and out; and down the middle and wheel about,

With a 'Phew, shew, Wadolincon; listen to me Bobolincon!"

After midsummer the cares of the family have so worn upon the jollity of our dashing, rollicking friend that his song is seldom heard. The colors of his coat fade into a dull yellowish brown like that of his faithful mate, who has borne the greater burden of the season, for he has two complete moults each year.

The bobolinks build their nest on the ground in high grass. The eggs are of a bluish white. Their food is largely insectivorous: grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, spiders, with seeds of grass especially for variety.

In August they begin their journey southward, flying mainly by night. Arriving in the Southern States, they become the sad-colored, low-voiced rice or reed bird, feeding on the rice fields, where they descend to the ignominious fate of being dressed for the plate of the epicure.

Could there be a more tragic ending to the glorious note of the gay songster of the north?

BLACKPOLL WARBLER
(Dendroica Striata)
Wood Warbler Family

  • Length - 5.5 to 6 inches. About an inch smaller than the English sparrow.

  • Male - Black cap; cheeks and beneath grayish white, forming a sort of collar, more or less distinct. Upper parts striped gray, black, and olive. Breast and under parts white, with black streaks. Tail olive-brown, with yellow-white spots.

  • Female - Without cap. Greenish-olive above, faintly streaked with black. Paler than male. Bands on wings, yellowish.

  • Range - North America, to Greenland and Alaska. In winter, to northern part of South America.

  • Migrations - Last of May. Late October.

About Birds - Site Index

Bird Neighbors - Part 1 - Bird Neighbors - Part 2
Bird Neighbors - Part 3 - Bird Neighbors - Part 4
Bird Neighbors - Part 5 - Bird Neighbors - Part 6
Bird Neighbors - Part 7 - Bird Neighbors - Part 8
Bird Neighbors - Part 9 - Bird Neighbors - Part 10

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