By now you may have heard about a Yellow-headed Blackbird that has been hanging around Cove Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Stamford, Conn. If not, don’t worry. I was a little late to the game, too.
But on Sunday morning I took a trip over there to see if the bird was still around. A birder from Rowayton was already there looking at the bird, which was at the main feeding station within the sanctuary. It remained only a few seconds before taking off to the top of a nearby tree. It returned after a few minutes and fed on the ground under the feeders for several minutes.
Yellow-headed Blackbirds are rare sightings in New England. They are western and Midwestern birds. I love my New England Red-winged Blackbirds, but Yellow-headed Blackbirds are even more colorful and much larger. Having never seen on in New England before, I was very impressed with the bird’s color, size, yellow rump patch and white wing patches.
David Winston arrived and said the bird had been there for several days and it frequented the feeding station. Suddenly the birds all darted off into the woods and other safe areas. While the bird was elsewhere temporarily, David Winston took the opportunity to make sure the feeders were filled and the ground underneath had plenty to offer. David is tireless in his efforts to promote and maintain the sanctuary.
See more photos of the bird (taken by David Winston) by clicking here.
David spotted a Cooper’s Hawk in a somewhat distant tree, hence the apprehension for the feeder birds to stay at the feeder. Eventually the hawk flew off and the blackbirds came back. By now a few more birders had arrived and the star of the show returned.
In the field guide “Birds of North America” Kenn Kaufman mentions something about the Yellow-headed Blackbird’s “awful attempts to sing.” I can now vouch for that as the Stamford bird vocalized several times while I was there.
I returned very briefly this afternoon (April 28, 2014), but did not see the bird. Truthfully, I didn’t look that hard today. Time was short. Hopefully it’s still around and many other birders will be able to see it.
Another great rarity spotted at Cove Island Wildlife Sanctuary.