Is it time for fall already? These birds seem to think so.
Female and juvenile bobolinks have yellow feathers on their breast and face; the male, however, looks like an entirely different species when he is dressed in his breeding plumage. Bobolinks are one of the few species that molts all of its feathers twice a year, and his distinctive set of black, white, and yellow feathers will soon be replaced with drab brown and yellow ones before he migrates to southern South America for the winter. Then he will re-decorate himself again with another new set of breeding plumage feathers before he undertakes the northward migration next spring. A lot of energy just to make himself attractive to the ladies.
Bobolinks form large migratory flocks, feeding voraciously during the day on seeds of crops and prairie grasses to fuel their nocturnal flights. Their preferred forage on the large grain fields in South America, earned them the name “rice-birds”.
Bon voyage, rice-eaters.