This has been one busy month so far, but guessing you already figured that out being that this is the 14th and the first post of the month. Bad Bri, veeryyy bad man. The good news is a lot of the busy time has been spent out in the woods looking for new birds to add to my list. That included a nice weekend with my brother checking out the local spots! I managed to pull a plus one on that outing but he was able to go a full six – more on that in a future post. Short on time tonight, I better get to today’s feature … wait for it .. wait for it .. yep, a bird! I really need to get caught up on my bird list thanks to Ron cranking out new birds every weekend. The only way they get checked on my list is if they show up here first. Translated … prepare yourself for a barrage of feather posts starting with this plus one.
For the readers out there with sharp memories, this bird does look like another one featured over a year ago (link here). That was a Western Meadowlark shot outside the Grand Tetons. This particular bird is of the Eastern variety. Ironically, this shot came AFTER a day of birding (with Ron) at Allerton Park in Monticello IL. A little foreshadowing – I’m just now getting to the fruits of that outing (soooo behind). On our way out, Linda noticed my brother pointing to something on the side of the road. It didn’t take long to spot this gorgeous yellow bird hanging out among some bare branches. Guess I owe Ron a big thanks for spotting this one for me. Something in the back of my head also says we might have been lost at the time so showing up there was luck in itself.
Let’s see what our favorite birding website, Cornell, has to say about Mr. Yellow. For the Trivia Crack addicts out there it may be interesting to know that the Eastern Meadowlark is not a member of the Lark family. Nice name there eh? They are kin to the Blackbird family. Maybe the Yellow Blackbird name was causing too much confusion. Males are typically so cool they keep two mates (heard they were advocating to the Supreme Court for marriage equality). The Western and Eastern varieties don’t buy into that whole “Beat It” video concept preferring to fight it out for territory claim – the bird version of East Coast vs West Coast although both in a neutral yellow color! They are primarily insect eaters which means they are fine by me. They need to take a vacation up to Goose Lake on the Hebron Trail – they would east like kings!
Not a whole lot more that jumps off the fact sheet. They have a Least Concern Conservation Status (yeah) and based on the shot above, they have no problem hanging out with female Red-Winged Blackbirds. That right there shows you the degree to which other birds respect that dagger of a bill. Red-Winged Blackbirds pretty much harass and attack every other bird (and my brother) that comes within 30 feet of them – here they were just sitting there behaving themselves. Truth be told I originally thought they were female Meadowlarks but they didn’t match the reference shots. Note, Ron and I actually tracked down a few more of these on our trip up to Starved Rock/Matthiessen State Park (lord, I am soooo behind). Oh well, at least I can take satisfaction in another plus one for the list.
That’s all for tonight folks – stay cool!
5 thoughts on “Yellow on the Exit”
If you recall from the list of birding errors in the movie “The Big Year” from a few years ago, the 750-odd birds sighted in that year of birding were flashed during the final credits, grouped by family of bird. The Eastern Meadowlark appeared in the Lark family, which as you note is incorrect. Just a few birders here and there noticed that… 🙂
They sure are pretty birds! And they love to sing. And chirp very loudly as well, as I recall.
Thanks for the post! I feel a little guilty taking up your time with birding outings when you could be writing posts, but you always find a bunch of new birds for me, such as the Yellow-billed Cuckoo that you almost hit with your truck. Of course, you could have thought I saw it flying by and tried to hit it to prevent me from counting it per the rules, I’m not entirely sure.
Now that you mention that, I recall you informing me about that error. To be honest, I tell everyone that asks that in my opinion that movie nailed the subject – just like Best in Show perfectly captured the essence of dog shows.
I’ve already decided that you are deviously trying to get me to miss my quota by accepting my outing opportunities. The things I do for family! I figured that Cuckoo story would come out sooner or later. For all my fans out there, I should clarify this story a bit. I DID NOT almost hit this gorgeous bird – not even close! Now it did flash by my car so that much is true, however, my ninja braking skills insured a safe traversal for Mr. Cuckoo. What I do not get credit for is being able to actually tell what that bird was having only seen it for a fraction of second – especially since this got Ron a major +1 on his list. ADDITIONALLY, I would never try to intentionally kill a bird just to keep from going another point down in the count – now, let’s contrast that with a individual that has more than once mentioned the possibility of exterminating a species to prevent others from adding it to their lists … just saying… hehehehe