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Monday, April 29, 2013

New bird in town

In my last post here, I mentioned that I was going to change out one of the feeders in my backyard feeder system. The platform feeder had proved just a bit too welcoming to the White-winged Doves. As soon as I filled it, they would descend on it and empty it within the hour, leaving nothing for the smaller birds. The platform feeder had to go, to be replaced by one that was more small-bird-friendly.

So, today, we went to Tractor Supply and picked up a new feeder. I removed the platform feeder and hung the new one in its place.

Birds are notoriously cautious about accepting anything new in their territory. They have to be. Their lives can depend on it. I wondered how long it would take for them to accept the new feeder and settled down to watch and find out.

It didn't take long for the White-wings to investigate, but though they could just manage to perch, they were not comfortable and didn't linger long.

Smaller birds like Pine Siskins and Northern Cardinals had no problems.

Soon, the Red-bellied Woodpecker showed up to inspect the new feeder as well.

While I was watching the interactions of the birds with the feeder, I had a wonderful surprise.

A male Rose-breasted Grosbeak settled in the blueberry bush behind the feeder! I had never seen one of these birds in my yard before. A few years ago, my next door neighbor had told me that she had one in her yard, but if it ever crossed the fence to my garden, I didn't see it. In fact, I've only seen a handful of these birds in my entire life. You can bet I was very excited to see this one!

 The bird soon flew to the feeder containing the black oil sunflower seed and began to feed.

He did not want to share the feeder with this female cardinal!

After a bit of squabbling, they each settled down on opposite sides of the feeder. Peace reigned.

I wondered if perhaps there was a female grosbeak in the area. The question had barely formed in my mind when...

There she was, settling down to join her mate.

The two spent several minutes amiably feeding together.

A dove which landed on the feeder seemed flummoxed at the sight of the bird with the big white beak.

These beautiful birds stayed in the yard all afternoon. I know they are just passing through and will not be here for long, but it sure would be nice if they would linger for a couple of days and give me a chance for more grosbeak watching.

Anyway, I'm really happy that I got to see them today and that I got to add number 107 to my yard bird list. They made my week!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, VV. I was lucky that they posed for me.

  2. I've never seen those birds before. I can see where the name comes from - wow, that beak is huge! Such a lovely color on the male, but I wouldn't have recognized the female as being the same species if you hadn't said so!

    1. They're only here on migration and are not that common, so it is a real treat to see one. The female, as you can see, just has a faint rosy wash over the throat and shoulders, but those big chalky colored beaks are definitive on both sexes.

  3. Congratulations on the Grosbeak! We have them on the CyFair campus this week but we've never had one at home.

    1. It was a great treat to have them, even though they had disappeared by the next day.