Saturday, February 23, 2013

Frequent Flyer Miles

Bobolink Male and Female
The bobolink is long distance traveler. They breed in open grassland in the north eastern half of the US and southeastern half of Canada, from the east coast through the Dakotas and even further west on Canada. They winter approximately 12,000 miles away in central South America. That means that every two years a typical bobolink will travel the circumference of the earth at the equator. They can travel over a 1,000 miles per day. They typically migrate in flocks stopping to feed on grains and insects in agricultural on their way. Unlike most passerines the bobolink molts twice a year, once on the breeding territory at the end of the summer and once on the wintering territory before they begin their return flight. When the males molt on the wintering territory the feathers have yellow tips which makes it look like they have not changed from their non breeding plumage but as they begin to head north the tip wear off and by the time breeding season arrives their black and white breeding plumage is visible. This is a pair that I photographed at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin.



8 comments:

HansHB said...

Lovely photo! I have not seen this bird before!

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Brian King said...

Beautiful photo! Not a bird we see here.

Valerie said...

Wow - I'm exhausted just reading about the distance these cute critters fly! Great capture Jeff.

DeniseinVA said...

It's such an interesting little bird and I like saying the word 'Bobolink'.

birdworthy said...

I always expect Bobolinks to be bigger than they are! We can find them in one or two fields in Sussex, NJ. Lovely photo!

Shey said...

Never seen these birds before too. Thanks for the information and great shot.

Anni said...

Gorgeous...never seen these, glad you shared your images.