Gift of Birdwatching: Bobolink

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The male bobolink has a yellow cap. Photo courtesy Kelly Colgan Azar


The female bobolink is masterfully camouflaged. Photo courtesy Ray Harden

I was walking the dog this weekend in rural southern Iowa and heard one of my favorite bird calls of all time: the Bobolink.

Their playful, bouncy call sounds like a 1970’s idea of what computers would sound like in the future.

Males have a solid black front, white wings and back, and a tennis-ball yellow cap.

They hover over open fields, singing their bubbly song, trying to attract a female. The bold coloration, fluttering display, and call make them seem out of place.

In contrast, the female is straw yellow with some streaking, making her masterfully camouflaged.

Bobolinks do well in dense pasture, hayfields and shorter prairies, habitat that is found more abundantly in surrounding counties.

Mike Havlik is a naturalist in the Dallas County Conservation Department.

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