|vagrant Dickcissel seen in Farmington, Utah 2011|
|probably my favorite Blue Grosbeak photo|
by "Birding is Fun!" contributor Steve Creek.
AllAboutBirds.org describes Dickcissels as birds of the prairie grasslands and Blue Grosbeaks as birds of the open woodland or forest edge. I suppose there are habitats of grassland and forest edges near each other. Their diets of seeds and insects appear to be pretty close to the same. Let's take a look at some eBird sightings maps and see what we can learn...(see maps below)
These eBird sightings maps reveal that Dickcissels and Blue Grosbeaks do seem to share their winter range in Central America and around the Gulf of Mexico. It appears that Dickcissels in winter tend toward more vagrancy than Blue Grosbeaks. Dickcissels must be found in higher concentrations in their Central America wintering grounds due to the sparse amount of sightings, or they may be harder to find in winter for some reason. AllAboutBirds.org states that winter roosts of Dickcissels may number in the millions of birds.
All kinds of interesting stuff here, but what about my original curiosity about why Donald and I both saw the two species together? Is there some mysterious connection between the two species. Ah, it was probably just coincidence.