Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

A Real Beauty 

Rose-breasted Grosbeak
The Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) is a beauty to look at and to listen to.  Its colours make it one of our most beautiful species and its song is a beautiful warbling melody.

The male is unmistakeable.  You will hear him before you see him.  He will be in the deciduous forest canopy perched high up singing his heart out.  The song is a series of warbled phrases, somewhat similar to that of a robin.  He may be difficult to see among the foliage but when you see him, you will be astounded at his beauty.  The brilliant throat patch is a bright rosy pink, at times appearing fluorescent.  That is set off by the black head and upper back.  The white on the belly and lower back contrasts with these colours.  The white wing patches add interest to an already beautiful pattern.  The white beak is very large, like all grosbeaks.

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is here from mid-May to October.  It breeds in our hardwood forests and graces the landscape with its presence.  It is found in the summer in most of southern Canada east of the Rockies.  It winters mainly in Mexico.  

This large finch builds its nest  of twigs, grass and plant fibres in a low tree branch.  It lays 3 to 5 light green or bluish eggs with reddish brown spots.  Its diet consists of insects, fruit, and seeds.  It will also come to feeders, where it will feast on safflower seeds, sunflower seeds, suet, millet and peanuts.

The female is much plainer.  She is mainly brown with some white streaks.  She looks like a very large sparrow but her large beak identifies her if you look closely.  

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