Last Tuesday I checked out the Dennison Sewage Treatment Plant on the eastern edge of Rice County, Minnesota. Sewage treatment plants and garbage dumps often harbor interesting birds. I found none of my hoped for shorebirds—but I did find some good birds. Among them were a flock of eight Bobolinks. Winter Bobolinks are drab, compared to the males’ black and white spring plumage.
Curiously, I saw Bobolinks at the Dennison treatment plant almost exactly a year ago. Then I commented that the males in winter plumage tend to be brighter breasted than the duller females. I assume the bird in this photo is a male. In another bobolink post, I wrote “Bobolinks are long-distance migrants, wintering in southern South America, a round-trip distance of about 12,500 miles. A banded female Bobolink was recaptured after nine years, thus “presumably made this trip annually, a total distance equal to traveling 4.5 times around the earth at the equator” (Martin and Gavin 1995). Studies indicate that Bobolinks orient using magnetic clues.”