Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks

I had never seen such birds as these until they showed up at our feeders yesterday afternoon. They’re both males, in their full mating-season regalia. Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are found in Southwest Virginia during the summer; the rest of the state only sees them during their annual migration between Central / South America and the northeast, the plains states, and a swath of Canada.

One of them slammed into our wall-to-wall picture window this morning. He was stunned but, after ten minutes of standing around, he managed to right himself and fly off. Time to get some some of those ultraviolet window stickers.

In other bird news, the hummingbirds are back. I’ve had several sightings of a ruby-throated hummingbird outside my window, so the feeders are up and waiting for their first customers.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

19 replies on “Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.”

  1. If you see the males, keep an eye out for a female-pretty brown and white. A few years ago even had a blue grosbeak show up at our feeders. Nice picture!

  2. I had 2 Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks at my feeder on Friday (the first I’ve seen in the 3 years I’ve lived in my house). It was a big thrill.

  3. Great photo! By coincidence, I saw my first Rose-breasted grosbeak of the season just yesterday, but it was the relatively drab female. I’ve never had as much luck spotting the males of that species. The hummers have not yet shown up on this side of the Blue Ridge, but we already put our feeder up to welcome them.

  4. By coincidence, I saw my first Rose-breasted grosbeak of the season just yesterday

    I’m starting to suspect it’s not a coincidence, based on the e-mails I’ve been getting. Seems to me that a whole bunch of grosbeaks just entered the region in the past couple of days.

  5. Interestingly, I had never seen or even heard of rose-breasted grosbeaks, but one showed up at my neighbor’s feeder yesterday. It will be interesting to see if anyone can tell us if this rash of sightings is unusual, or if it’s the same thing as when you learn a new word and then see it everywhere.

    The most unnerving thing to happen to me in a while was when a hummingbird hovered outside the window next to my computer, glaring at me, for some time. I hopped to it and got the feeder out. Next year I won’t be so late.

  6. The most unnerving thing to happen to me in a while was when a hummingbird hovered outside the window next to my computer, glaring at me, for some time. I hopped to it and got the feeder out.

    *Laugh* Julie, I had the same experience! One hummed right up to the window, not 3′ from my face, staring at me angrily. I opened up iChat and told my wife: “I think a hummingbird just threatened me. Time to put the feeders out.”

  7. I love your photos Waldo. You have a real talent for capturing wildlife (and doggies).

    Two birds came across my path today. Unfortunately they were both in their last throes (as Cheney would say). The first fell from who-knows-where and landed in my backyard this morning. I picked him up and tried to make him comfortable on a napkin in a shoebox. (Not sure what bird’s consider “comfortable” but at least I tried.) He didn’t look too good and unfortunately he passed away about an hour later. Then this afternoon I went for a run at River’s Edge and found another IDENTICAL bird (I need to look it up b/c I don’t know but it looked exactly like the first one, whatever that was – obviously I’m no “birder”) lying on the path in front of me, again not looking too healthy. I picked it up and laid it down in some grass by the river. I’m sure it’s already taken its last breath. When I got home from the run I took the shoebox bird and gave it a decent burial in my backyard. I’m normally not the burying type but after seeing this twice in one day I felt the need for some type of ceremony.

    This evening my mom called to tell me that her husband saw a deer run through their backyard at Lake Monticello, dive into the lake and start swimming. He looked back a few minutes later and it was dead, floating along the side of the shore.

    Waldo, is this one of the signs of the Apocalypse? I’m not too comfortable with all this dying…

  8. At our place, the first grosbeak sighting of the 2007 season was a couple days ago. Cheeky little buggers too — act like they own the feeder. I think it’s a contest of who has the biggest beak.

  9. Not sure what bird’s consider “comfortable” but at least I tried.

    For the record, it’s a dark, quiet, confined space. Napkin in a shoebox? Perfect.

    We get bird strikes against our windows pretty regularly, so I’ve had to learn how to keep the little guys comfortable until they come around.

  10. FWIW, those UV window stickers appeared to be the answer to my prayers… but then I received my order and realized they have to be placed on the outside of the windows to be effective. Which is all well and good if you have normal, accessible windows that are easy to clean and reach on the outside, but not with my house’s second-story horizontal sliders bearing impossible-to-remove screens. Pfeh. But they do look promising.

  11. Ooooooooo hit me where it hurts Waldo. I guess I’m just a dead animal magnet. Anyway, I didn’t mean to distract from the grosbeak conversation. I just needed to put these weird happenings down in writing b/c I was beginning to feel my own mortality. Cheers!

  12. I’m starting to suspect it’s not a coincidence…

    So you’re saying that the Rose-breasted grosbeaks might be part of … gasp … a conspiracy??? : )

  13. A couple of robins built a nest in a bush in my side yard. I only noticed them because I accidentally startled one of the birds when I was clipping some flowers from the bush to take inside. When the flustered bird flew away I noticed a nest tucked away in the bush. Nothing was in it yet, but I was pleased that there would be baby birds close enough that my kids could get a peek at them from our window. When I came home a couple of days ago I noticed that there wasn’t anyone in the nest, so I decided to have a quick look to see if there were any eggs yet. There were two. Strangely, I haven’t seen the mother in that nest since then. My daughter insisted we take the nest indoors (since it had been abandoned) and see if the eggs will hatch. So now this little nest sits under a lamp in my husband’s office. :) The eggs are a beautiful blue. I’m pretty doubtful that they will hatch. I wonder why the parents decided to abandon them.

  14. Southern Indiana is being invaded by these handsome vagabonds this year. In past years I might see a pair at the feeder during spring migration. This year I’ve had at least five hanging around my home feeder for the past week.
    At work they have literally taken over the feeder. They squabble and crash into the windows. The other day I rescued a female from the ground after she rammed the glass. As I held her a co-worker commented that “she looked like she was seeing stars”. After a few minutes she regained her composure and flew off to the woods. I have since attached yellow post-it-notes to all the windows and so far it seems to have cut down on the bird/glass collisions. Whether a population spike or change in migration route, these fellows are everywhere this year and I’m enjoying their visit.

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