Tuesday, April 23, 2013


It is now the start of spring migration and today I want to discuss an interesting bird.  It is a member of the blackbird family - the Bobolink.  What makes the bobolink interesting, it's not only the bobolink's bubbly song, but the color change in the male.  The male undergoes to complete molts every year, when the fresh alternate feathering of the male wears off results in the striking black and white plumage that you see during the breeding season.  After the breeding season is over, the male starts to molt and then looks just like the female.  So in the fall, you cannot tell the male from the female bobolink.
Bobolink Winter Plumage

Bobolink Winter Plumage

Female Bobolink

Bobolink in flight

Bobolink's are found in the summer and agricultural fields, grasslands and meadows.  In southeastern Massachusetts, they can be found at the fields of the Allens Neck trail system of Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, and that the Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield, Massachusetts.

Bobolink's were also immortalized by the poem "Robert of Lincoln" by William Cullen Bryant.
"Merrily swinging on brier and weed,
Near to the nest of his little dame,
Over the mountain-side or mead,
Robert of Lincoln is telling his name:
Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link,
Spink, spank, spink;
Snug and safe is that nest of ours,
Hidden among the summer flowers,
Chee, chee, chee.