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Bobolink

Dolichonyx oryzivorus

Like most members of this “Blackbird” clan, the Bobolink is in the family Icteridae. While the breeding range for this bird is in the northern half of the USA and some of southern Canada, they winter rather far south in the south central regions of South America. Prime breeding habitats are open grassy fields, especially hay fields, across North America.

No other American bird looks quite like the summer male Bobolink, with their jet-black front side, their broad white shoulders and rumps, and their bright peachy skull cap tilted to the back of their heads. I’ve yet to meet the more modestly attired females, the immature or non-breeding males of this species. Nothing had prepared me for the startlingly bold birds I met in Montana in 2015. I wasn’t looking for them during my stay with an old friend in the Bitterroot Valley, but such an unusual-looking bird as this was hard to ignore as they perched on the fence lines bordering the pastures I passed on my drive. Who could blame me for stopping to capture their images and admire their display postures?

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