Dickcissel At Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge

As an avid wildlife photographer, I eagerly await the spring arrival of the Dickcissel at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. This charming bird with its distinctively patterned plumage and cheerful song has long been a favorite subject of my nature photography. However, over the years, I have noticed a significant decline in their population, leaving me concerned about the future of these beloved birds.

Dickcissel Singing
Dickcissel Singing

I delved deeper into this issue and discovered that the Dickcissel population is known to fluctuate widely in numbers, with factors such as changes in land use being a significant contributing factor. As their breeding habitat primarily consists of fields, farmers in certain regions consider these birds as pests, as their flocks can consume vast quantities of cultivated grains.

Interestingly, the Dickcissel population is not evenly distributed across the United States. They are abundant in the Great Plains, the Midwest, and parts of the southern United States, while they are less common in the Northeast and the West Coast. 

Despite their fluctuating population numbers, these birds are vital to their ecosystems. As seed eaters, they play an essential role in controlling weed populations and providing food for other species. In addition, the Dickcissel’s distinctive song and appearance make them an integral part of our natural heritage, highlighting the importance of preserving their habitat and promoting their conservation.

As a nature photographer, I hope to continue to capture the beauty of the Dickcissel in my images, while also raising awareness about their plight and the need to protect them for future generations to enjoy.

I spot these birds in fields near the auto tour road and just pull over to photograph them. I was using a Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera with a Canon EF 500 mm f/4L IS USM lens. I had this setup resting on a bean bag draped over the open window of my pickup.

Taken on April 26, 2020,  at 08:43 A.M.

Camera Settings

  • AV Mode
  • Aperture: f8.0
  • ISO: 640
  • Shutter speed: 1/2500 sec.
  • Focal Length: 500 mm

Here is another Dickcissel I photographed back in May 2019: Dickcissel Singing From Vine