Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Hideaway Harvest Surprise


Some women get excited about little blue boxes from jewelry stores.

I get excited about little blue eggs discovered in wheat stubble. 

(I guess I wouldn't know whether I'd be just as excited about Tiffany jewelry boxes. But, honestly, I doubt it.)

I took Randy to the field after an early lunch last Friday so he could get started cutting again. As I was turning around to leave, he excitedly waved me over.

"Look what I found!" 

Near the driveway, there was a small nest nestled in wheat stubble. The wheat there had already been cut. But the nest survived.

I moved a few wheat heads over for a photo op to give some context.


And when I got back to the house, I messaged my wildlife friend, Pam, asking what kind of nest it might be.

2016, Kim's County Line photo

She thinks it's belongs to a Dickcissel. I've misidentified that same bird in the past, thinking it was a meadowlark, but another Facebook friend pointed out my mistake. 

2019, Kim's County Line photo

They are frequent flyers in our area. I've taken a couple of photos of them as we've fixed fence or been checking pastures. 

Pam told me, "They have unmarked blue eggs and nest in grasses or very low shrubs." Well, wheat is sort of like that, I thought.

I did a little more research about Dickcissels, looking up information on Cornell Lab's All About Birds. I didn't feel so badly about my earlier misidentification, when the Cornell site said that the "chunky grassland bunting is colored like a miniature meadowlark, with a black V on a yellow chest."

The best place to find Dickcissels is in overgrown pastures, savannahs, and croplands in the central Great Plains. ... Their song is fairly short but hard to miss, a clicky buzzing dick-dick-ceessa-ceessa. Watch for males sitting on barbed wire fences, posts, and shrubby trees as they launch into song over and over again.   

Throughout the year Dickcissels require grassland habitats, but they are rarely picky about those habitats. In the summer months they are most common in native prairies and restored grasslands, but they also nest in lightly grazed pastures, hayfields, fallow agricultural fields, and even fence rows and roadsides. Female Dickcissels build the nest, a bulky cup woven out of weeds and grasses. The interior is often lined with fine grass and, sometimes, hair.

Egg Length: 0.8-0.9 in
Egg Width: 0.6-0.7 in
Incubation Period: 12-13 days
Nesting Period: 8-10 days
Egg Description: Unmarked, pale blue
Cornell Lab's All About Birds website

It's kind of like finding a needle in a haystack. Whether the mother finds the nest again, I don't know. But it was still exciting to find our miniature treasure among our "amber waves of grain."

To hear a Dickcissel sing and see it in a natural habitat, click on this link from Cornell.


  1. I too would prefer a gift of nature to a Tiffany item.
    How wonderful the eggs survived the harvest.

    1. Yes, it was amazing when the combine header would have cut off the wheat stalks.