Thursday, August 11, 2011


Photo by Bill Ravenscroft

I remember my first sighting of this species.  We had taken a working vacation to Minnesota.  While one of us was attending a meeting, I was out birding.  Yes, I got the better deal.  I chase a male bird across a field, hoping to get a little closer and hence a better look.  Never did.  But I was close enough to get an ID such that I could add to my life list.

The bird pictured above, however, was sighted this summer at Richland Chamber Wildlife Refuge in Texas.  We see more of these birds in Texas.  I don’t know if I am more attentive or if they are making the trip because of other reasons and conditions.

The male is unquestionably identifiable with its golden nape.  There are those who speak of a straw colored nape.  Not I; it’s golden. That nape, the black front, white scapulars and rump has a way of chopping up the bird.  I can see how this might aid in the bird’s survival in the open grassy fields it so enjoys.

Fire is something feared by a good many of us.  However, fire suppression is working against populations of Bob-O-Links.  Fire suppression on Midwestern prairies is allowing for succession of  grassland to a more forested environment--something to think about.

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