The other day, Marc told me he had found a whole flock of little birds with yellow chests and a "little black spot" right in the middle. I could hardly imagine what this bird really looked like.
However, yesterday, even though we were on a pretty tight schedule, we spent 30-45 minutes on one of our favorite birding haunts, Woods Rd. And there we found these lovely birds!
Across the road from the first picture, was a pair. The bird to the right (obviously a male) gives us a bit more of a side view, enabling us to see the yellow eyebrows and rufus shoulders.
I'm not 100% sure, but I think this might be a female. They lack the black patch, and the yellow eyebrows are fainter. She has her back to us and you can see the plain patch on the rump.
Marc and I both struggled trying to find this lovely bird in our bird book. With all the yellow, the obvious place to start was the warblers, but no joy... I had noticed that the beak was a bit thicker, and when I turned over to the Cardinals and Grossbeaks -- there it was! The classification of this bird is Spiza americana. Sibley makes this comment, "Dickcissel may belong in the family Icteridae or here in the Cardinalidae, but is not clearly related to either."
Either way, it's a new one for our lifebook -- and we're really excited about that!