Breeding Bird Atlas 1 Additional Accounts


Spiza americana

The historic record of the nesting status of the Dickcissel in Massachusetts suggests that the species was probably erratic and never abundant. Thomas Nuttall, referring to the early 1800s, stated that “they are not uncommon in this part of New England, dwelling here, however, almost exclusively in the high, fresh meadows near the saltmarshes” (Nuttall 1905). Brewster, however, stated that by the turn of the twentieth century, it was “unquestionably one of the rarest species known to breed within this region” (Minot 1903). Whatever the Dickcissel’s precise historical status may have been, it apparently disappeared as a nesting bird from the Massachusetts landscape around 1877, and there has not been the slightest suggestion of breeding in Massachusetts during the 1900s.

Dickcissels are rare spring and uncommon and irregular fall migrants in Massachusetts, and a few occasionally attempt to overwinter at bird feeding stations.