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Jeff Lampe

Jeff Lampe has been outdoor writer at the Journal Star in Peoria for 12 duck seasons. He lives in Elmwood with his wife Monica, sons Henry, Victor and Walter, and Llewellin setter Hawkeye. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he is an avid fan of the Bills and still has mental scars from four consecutive Super Bowl losses. Outside of hunting and fishing, Lampe's main passion in Illinois was Class A boys basketball (which sadly no longer exists). Former publisher of the Class A Weekly newsletter, Lampe is a co-author of "100 Years of Madness" and "Classical Madness," both books focusing on prep basketball in Illinois.

Illinois Outdoors


A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Illinois hunting and fishing

June 16: Picture of the Day

June 16, 2010 at 09:13 AM

There’s one grassy road near home where you can always spot a dickcissel. At least I’m pretty sure this is a dickcissel. He looks like one and sings like one.

Here’s a little information on the dickcissel from the book “Birds of Illinois.”

Illinois is at the heart of the Dickcissel’s breeding range and this species is quite common along country roads in central Illinois and southern parts of the state. It may be somewhat nomadic in northern Illinois, found in one area during the breeding season one year, then completely absent the next. The male Dickcissel announces his presence with trilled renditions of his name, often singing all day, even in the heat of summer. One male may mate with up to six females in a single breeding season.

Well no wonder these little rascals are singing all the time.

The book goes on to tell that dickcissels eat spiders and insects, especially grasshoppers, and also take seeds from the ground and low-growing vegetation.

As for being common, I can tell you that I don’t see them all over the country roads in Peoria County. So perhaps there’s some truth to another quote from “Birds of Illinois.”

Most Dickcissels winter in South America, where many farmers kill this species to protect crops. Because of this practice and other situations such as habitat alteration on breeding grounds, Dickcissel numbers are declining.




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