Keep an Eye Out for these Beauties in Kentucky
Male Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
If you’ve spotted a colorful, gorgeous little black and white bird with red on his chest, you’ve been lucky enough to see a male Rose-Breasted Grosbeak. A member of the cardinal family, the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak is a songbird we don’t get to see very often here in Kentucky.
I don’t have any pictures, YET, of a female Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, but I’m working on it. She isn’t as colorful as her male companion, but she’s just as beautiful – with gorgeous brown markings. Females and immature males (no comments, ladies) are streaked brown and white. They have an adorable, distinctive face pattern and what seems like an especially large bill.
You’ll often see Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks referred to as “large songbirds” but this only means comparison-wise. These birds aren’t very big at all – I’d say somewhere between a sparrow and a cardinal.
Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks are undoubtedly one of the most vivid sights at your bird feeder. They’re a beautiful reminder of the importance to glance out at your bird feeder or feeders often. You won’t see Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks year-round, of course. I’ve had the best luck with viewing them in spring and early summer, but I’m hoping they’ll stick around longer this year.
Even the back view is beautiful! If you see the view above in your yard, be sure to wait for him to turn around.
I always place birdseed and corn on my windowsills – something doves, cardinals, finches, and sparrows absolutely LOVE. I’ve found that Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks are also crazy about this special buffet, yesterday three mails were lined up at one window eating happily while giving each other the side eye. **** If you put birdseed on a windowsill, be sure you keep your blinds or curtains almost completely down. I leave mine only a few inches up – if you “expose” too much of the glass, birds will not see it and will fly right into it, usually killing the bird.
I apologize for the quality of these particular pictures – they were taken through glass from my kitchen… with a zoom lens, no less. I’ve tried to provide a good assortment of angles and shots to give you an idea of the size and colors of these beautiful birds. I kept waiting for another bird to land close to the grosbeak to give you a size comparison, but every other bird was apparently bashful!
A Few Facts About Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks:
- They are notorious for their “flimsy” nests.
- The rose-breasted grosbeak’s song sounds very similar to a robin’s.
- The male Rose-breasted Grosbeak incubates the eggs for several hours during the day, while the female incubates the rest of the day and all night long.
- Males sing to establish territories and attract females.
- When a male attracts a female, he actually plays hard to get for a few days before giving her the time of day!
For more information (pictures, audio…) on Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks and every other bird imaginable, check out All About Birds.