Friday, July 11, 2014

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks

This summer I have been well entertained by a family of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.  Grosbeaks have consistently visited the feeders each spring, but this is the first year RBGRs have raised young in my yard.

This juvenile had darker marking on the back.
 The youngsters have a peachy wash about the chest.  This one was marked more heavily than others I have seen. He also shows a large amount of red under those stubby wings. It appears to be a young male.  Don't be fooled by the eyeline, as he will lose it next year. 

The adult male grosbeak has been bringing the young to the feeder.
The adult male grosbeak has been dedicated to these young. A few weeks back, the female would visit the feeder several times a day, but I have not seen her lately.  Mostly the male comes in, and shortly afterward he is followed by one of the young.  There has never been more than one fledgling at a time, but there are several different young birds.
This one seems to be the dominate male.
A  male Rose-breasted Grosbeak's marking are pretty variable. This bird. with the wider base at the bottom of the red marking seems, to be the older and dominate male.

One of the brothers
Two young males have also been coming to the feeder.  The black on their backs was still splotchy when they arrived this spring, but they seem to be maturing into attractive adults.  Both of the young males have nearly identical markings. Their red blazes taper to a very thin line streaking down their chests.

This family appears to be comprised of three active males and one female.  I have seen three different fledglings. It has been interesting to watch and sort out the family members, by their varied coloration.  It  is certainly easier to keep track these individuals, compared to most bird groupings that come to the feeders.

 I often have several Northern Cardinals or Blue Jays in the area, but I have never been able to sort them as individuals, other than ones that exhibit repetitive behaviors.

It has been a big thrill to host a grosbeak family in our yard.  But it has certainly kept me engaged in peeking out the window for extended hours. You know, this fall I am gonna miss those birdies when they are gone!

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