Dickcissel invasion reaches central PA

Or did it? Read on…

Today, after some intensive searching, it was very gratifying to come across a Dickcissel in Centre County. The western counties in the state are experiencing a small incursion of Dickcissels, possibly linked to drought conditions in the central part of the country.

It would be relatively simple to just say that this Dickcissel is part of that irruption. However, the distribution of Dickcissels in Pennsylvania is slightly more complicated than that. Dickcissels have a small breeding population in south-central Pennsylvania, mainly in Adams, Franklin, and Cumberland counties. Indications are that the south-central PA breeding population is growing and it is entirely possible that this bird is part of that breeding group and is wandering around in search of a breeding territory. Of course, determining where it came from is difficult, but the fact that we found one is good incentive to continue searching. Dickcissels often show up a bit later in June and July and there could be others around. With the ongoing breeding population, and the large number of birds in the western part of the state, it would be great to take advantage of that and document any breeding activity that we can. Any evidence of breeding can be submitted to eBird and photos of young would be a great addition to the Pennsylvania Birds journal produced by the Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology.

The bird I found was perched on a fence directly across Route 45 from Tadpole Rd. You can go up the driveway of the Livestock Evaluation Center and park where it begins to curve. The Dickcissel was occasionally jumping up on the fence and then disappearing into the field directly behind the fence.