Friday, October 06, 2017

Friday's Foto

A recent visitor to Brooklyn from west of the Mississippi was a Yellow-headed Blackbird. It was only the second confirmed sighting for the "Borough of Churches". Spotted by Heydi Lopes at historic Floyd Bennett Field on September 24th, the bird stuck around for two days.

A member of the family "Blackbird and Orioles", this bird has no doubt the most appropriate common name of any North American species. Despite their beautiful appearance, their song has been described as resembling the unpleasant, grating sound of a rusty hinge.

They breed in North America from central British Columbia, northern Alberta, and Wisconsin south to southern California, northern New Mexico, and Illinois in freshwater sloughs and marshy lake borders with dense vegetation such as cattails. Their diet consists mainly of insects and seeds.

A medium-distance migrant these birds migrate south in the fall to the southwestern United States and Mexico. There are also vagrant populations in the Bahamas, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Costa Rica, Barbados, Panama, Iceland, Greenland and Cuba.

This species conservation status via IUCN Red List is "Least Concern", although some populations have declined due to the draining of marshes.

The Yellow-headed Blackbird's scientific name, Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus, means yellow-headed, yellow-headed (so beautiful, they had to say it twice, I guess).

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