Date: 6/22/17 12:38 pm
From: Robert DeCandido PhD <rdcny...>
Subject: [JERSEYBI] Dickcissel (Historical - NJ)
Former Occurrence of Spiza americana in Northern New Jersey. -- Mr. C.S. Galbraith informs me that forty years ago [1850] the Dickcissel was a common summer resident near his home at Hoboken, N.J., a fact which seems of sufficient importance to be placed on record. -- FRANK M. CHAPMAN, American Museum of Natural History, New York City.

The Auk 8: 395 (1891)
Breeding of the Dickcissel in New Jersey. -- On July 3, 1904, while passing along a country road near Plainfield, New Jersey, I heard an unfamiliar and very unmusical song coming across the field. It soon ceased but before I had started on again it suddenly came down from almost over my head with such distinctness that I guessed the singer's name and, looking up, saw a Dickcissel (Spiza americana) perched on a telegraph wire above. After singing for a while, during which I had an excellent view of him through my glass, he flew back over the field. As he was evidently at home I decided to make the most of my opportunity, so spent the greater part of the day there. To my great satisfaction I soon found that the Dickcissel had a mate. She was shy and most of the time kept well hidden in the grass. The male sang persistently from three widely separated perches on as many sides of the field, -- the lower branches of a large black walnut, the top of an apple tree and the telegraph!
wires over the road. The field in which the birds were located was a grass field of mixed timothy and red-top with considerable red clover in parts and with a sprinkling of fleabane and black-eyed susans.

On the following day I visited the place with three ornithological friends. We saw both the old birds and in addition were delighted to find two young birds, one of which I secured. This specimen is a female in juvenal plumage with the first feathers of the winter plumage beginning to appear. The wings are not full grown and the tail is less than two-thirds of the full length. There cannot, of course, be the slightest doubt that these young birds were bred in this locality. Neither of the parents were taken, and it is hoped that they will return next year. As I had passed this field many times in the last few years it is unlikely that any Dickcissels nested in it before this season.

Mr. S. N. Rhoads allows me to state that he believes a specimen or two of this species was taken near Philadelphia this spring. As these are the first records for New Jersey or eastern Pennsylvania since 1890, they evidently indicate a tendency of the Dickcissels to return to their old haunts. The breeding record is the first for New Jersey or eastern Pennsylvania since 1879, although a few pairs doubtless bred as late as 1881. It is also apparently the first record for the entire Atlantic coast plain since 1884, when the species is recorded as breeding at Chester, South Carolina. There is little doubt, however, that the bird observed by Dr. J. Dwight, Jr., at Kingston, New York, on June 5, 1896, was breeding.

Mr. Rhoads wishes me to state that he has made a careful comparison of eastern and western Dickcissels without finding the slightest difference between them. -- W. DE W. MILLER, American Museum of Natural History, New York City.

The Auk 21: 487 (1904)
A Dickcissel Recovery. On October 28, 1957 an adult Dickcissel was banded (24-189611) at the Norman Bird Sanctuary, Middletown, Newport County, Rhode Island. In addition to the aluminum Fish and Wildlife Service band, a red plastic band was placed on the other leg so that the bird's movements around the sanctuary and the town could be followed by sight observations, but the bird was not seen again after banding. On December 5, 1957, this same Dickcissel (complete with red plastic band) was trapped at Rockaway, Morris County, New Jersey, and released. The bird remained at Rockaway throughout the winter and was last seen on March 11, 1958.

According to information received from the Banding Office, this is the first time that a Dickcissel has been reported subsequent to the original banding. James Baird, Norman Bird Sanctuary, Middletown, Rhode Island, and Mrs. Gail C. Cannon, Rockaway, New Jersey.

Journal of Field Ornithology 29: 183 (1958)

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