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Friday, May 04, 2018

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Can't Get Enough of Them!

Beautiful Rose-breasted Grosbeak, male, at our feeder

The shape of the red bib of the male can vary, 

making it possible to individually identify them.

Female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are more subtly colored.

Here's another example of a female.

Here's a 1st-winter male Rose-breasted Grosbeak. He looks much like the female but with a variable rosy wash on the breast. The 1st-winter female looks much like the adult female.

Can one get enough of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks? I think not. We celebrate their arrival each spring. They're strikingly gorgeous. We're lucky because we have them visiting our feeders regularly. They must be nesting nearby, although we do not know exactly where. Maybe they will bring the fledglings to the feeder as they have done in the past.
The male's plumage is so striking with the dramatic red on the white breast. One of the things we look at is the red bib of red on the male. It is a slightly different shape for each bird, making it possible to often recognize individuals. The female is not as knock-your-socks-off brilliantly colored as the male. Then again, he does not have to sit on the nest, as she does, a sitting duck for any predator. So, for her, it's much better to have subtle, more camouflaged colors. The young male Rose-breasted Grosbeak at first looks like the adult female but with a rosy wash on his breast. Eventually he will acquire the plumage of the adult male.
Rose-breasted Grosbeaks breed in the upper quadrant of the eastern half of the U.S. and much of Canada and winter south of the U.S., so many people may see them during migration in many parts of the country. Attract them to your feeders with black oil sunflower seed, in the shell or shell less, their favorite. Make sure that feeders have a ledge or wide enough perching area for them to land. Enjoy your weekend, hope you see some Rose-breasted Grosbeaks!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Beautiful Migrants Headed Your Way!

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Red-eyed Vireo

Prothonotary Warbler

Hooded Warbler

Scarlet Tanager, female

Scarlet Tanager, female

Orchard Oriole, female

Happiness is... a Gumbo Limbo tree loaded with fruits at the Sanibel Lighthouse park if you are hungry migrants such as these. These migrants depend on finding food when they arrive in SW FL after crossing the Gulf of Mexico. The fact that Sanibel's code is to keep native vegetation on its properties insures there will be fruit and insects available for migrants and helps conserve these birds. Think of helping both migrant and resident birds on your property by planting plenty of native trees and shrubs. You will be rewarded with the sight of beautiful avian jewels and the birds will thank you. Soon these migrants will be arriving near you! Enjoy them by keeping your binos handy and getting our The New Stokes Field Guide to Birds: Eastern Region or Western Region.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Beautiful Black-necked Stilts are Breeding!

Black-necked Stile, male

Black-necked Stilt, female

The Black-necked Stilts are nesting at the Bailey Tract on Sanibel, FL. The female (brown back) took a break from incubating to feed and the male sat on the nest, then the female returned and resumed incubating. These beautiful shorebirds breed in the shallow water of marshes, ponds, fields, and impoundments in coastal areas of some of the eastern half of the country and in some coastal and inland areas of the western half of the country. Even though there are plans to fill in one of the ponds in the Bailey Tract to create more marsh, we hope it it after these wonderful birds are through breeding.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Orchard Oriole Migrants, Nice!

Orchard Oriole, male

Orchard Oriole, male

New migrant yesterday was this beautiful male Orchard Oriole at the Sanibel lighthouse park. On it's way to its breeding range in much of the eastern part of the U.S.except the very upper East. Such a treat, as where I live in NH, it would be rare to see one.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Migrant Warblers, Here they Come and How to Help Them

Black-and-white Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

Palm Warbler

Prairie Warbler

Migrant Black-and-white Warbler, often thought of as the upside down warbler because of its habit of foraging upside down on tree limbs and trunks (don't try this at home). Palm Warbler with a nice lunch and female Prairie Warbler preening after crossing the Gulf of Mexico. These migrants find a big welcome at the Sanibel lighthouse park, which has ample native vegetation for food and cover. Sanibel's policy is to landscape public places with native vegetation and for homeowner's to keep native vegetation on their property! So, if you want to attract birds to your property and provide for migrants coming though, landscape with native vegetation!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Kentucky Warbler, Yes!

Kentucky Warbler


Today's exciting migrant was this bright yellow Kentucky Warbler, a rare find here and who preferred to forage in dense, dim underbrush. Also this Ovenbird walked in the leaf litter tucked way back in dim light. Finding these birds at the Sanibel lighthouse park and getting everyone on them is a group effort, so thanks to all.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Red-eyed Vireos are Migrating!

Red-eyed Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo

Real birds don't pose for minutes nicely in the open at the Sanibel lighthouse park. Hungry migrants that they are, they flutter in the protection of the dense foliage and forage rapidly. This Red-eyed Vireo was a new arrival yesterday. It's a common breeder in mature deciduous woods in mostly the eastern and upper mid-western U.S. and across Canada.You will hear it singing all summer.