Friday, May 7, 2010

Oooo! What a Treat!

I was walking by the window and happened to glance out. What did I see but this very handsome fellow feeding on the platform feeder:

Every once in a great while we are treated to the stunning colors of a rose-breasted grosbeak at our feeders. They are very attractive birds, even if they look like they've slopped punch down the fronts of their tuxedos.

A couple of times we've had mutant rose-breasted grosbeaks whose punch stains were yellow instead of red.

Regardless, they are a delight to see, adding an extra splash of color to our feeders.
David Sibley tells us that these are mostly solitary birds who prefer to lurk near the tops of trees rather than coming down closer to earth with the rest of us "low" lifes. When they sing, they sound a bit like a robin with a cold - kind of harsh and raspy.
Note the large (gross) beak - a classic feature of this group of birds. It is ideal for opening hard-husked seeds and makes very short work of black-oil sunflower seeds.
And in the background, drifting through the newly emerging leaves, was a distant bee-buzzzz: a black-throated blue warbler, the first I've heard this year.


  1. Very handsome fellow, indeed! Looks like he's flirting with you, Ellen.

  2. Oh my, he is a beauty. Love the reference to "punch stains". That describes the look perfectly. And I have to agree with Woodswalker, he does look like he is flirting with that little tilt of his head.