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Friday, June 07, 2013

Rose-breasted Grosbeak Celebration

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 sunflower seed, their favorite. Enjoy your weekend, hope you see some Rose-breasted Grosbeaks!

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