Throwback Thursday – Rusty Yellow

We are in the latter half of the week and that means I get to go back to the traditional FIFO processing of the image queue guilt free.  Today we take just a jump to the left, a step to the right, hands on hips, bring your knees in tight and pelvic thrust our way all the way back to July 2016.

Yellow-Billed Cuckoo found at Rend Lake, IL in July of 2016

Apologies for the mind flip for you’re into the Intrigued birding time slip.  How about that for a cheesy movie lead in.   If you are old enough to remember the reference, then that song will be floating in your head all day long ha.  Let’s get to our featured feathered friend.  Not new to the blog, the Yellow-Billed Cuckoo was first featured back in 2015 (link here) and a year later featured again with not one, not two, but three underwhelming pictures of its breast (link here).

Yellow-Billed Cuckoo found at Rend Lake, IL in July of 2016

Hit the jump to read more.. there might even be a surprise!

Of the three sets, definitely prefer these captures from Rend Lake.  Yes, from the same outing that brought you a chat with a Chat (link here) – note, CJ gets credit for that line, I just needed to find a way to use it hehehe.  The Y-B Cuckoo is one of those birds that I should really see more of.  They range across the eastern half of the US during breeding season before packing up the RV and taking the long trip to South America.  Of all the birding trips we’ve taken over the years, this was officially the 3rd encounter and the first one basically dropped right into my backyard and begged me to take pictures.

Yellow-Billed Cuckoo found at Rend Lake, IL in July of 2016

There are three Cuckoos that we have access to in North America.  Managed to tin the Black-Billed at Gander Mountain Forest Preserve (link here).  That leaves the Mangrove.  From the looks of their region map I will have to go to Florida and stand in a 50ft square.  So far, Two out of Three Ain’t Bad (name that Rocky Horror cast member).   Quick tidbit, the Cuckoos are zygodactyl.  That will assuredly gain you instant birding creds in a bar (I doubt it, but if someone challenges you on what the hell that means, just announce they have four toes, 2 going forward and 2 going backward – drop the mic and make your exit)

Time for the bonus round, or as I like to call it – counter clicker time.

Rusty Blackbird found at Kentucky Lake in April 2015

Two birds for the price of one.  The bright-eyed specimen above was found while scanning through the spoils of the Kentucky Lake outings.   Jump left, step right, hands on hips, knees in tight and pelvic thrust another year back to April 2015. An encounter that apparently lasted a sum total of 10 seconds.  Just enough time to get three shots of a well camouflaged bird hanging out in a nearby tree.  Probably would have passed over it in the digital darkroom, but that eye stopped me in my tracks.

Rusty Blackbird found at Kentucky Lake in April 2015

Headed to the reference books and confirmed our yellow-eyed friend was a Rusty Blackbird, then had Ron confirm it as it was a +1 on the birding list.  Shame I was not able to get you more perspectives.  On the interesting facts front, the male Rusty will molt off the winter coloring and sport the more traditional glossy blackish sheen.  On the troubling side, Cornell indicated that they are in a significant population decline of around 90 percent during the last forty years – scientists are unaware as to the real cause.

Quick one.. err, make that two for you today.  The best news is the Rusty brings me to a +4 for the month.  Will have to get that counter updated so Ron will start feeling the heat on his lead.

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