About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bold black and white bird with a bright red chest

This is the first time we had Rose-breasted Grosbeaks at our feeder. Two males, what a gorgeous bird. No pastures in our area, surrounded by vineyards, fruit trees, woods and the Niagara River. Don't know if they normally come this north. Adrian from Queenston, Ontario Canada.

Each spring the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks migrate north in April and May in search of breeding grounds in southern Canada and the northcentral and northeastern United States. They are a Neotropical migrant, and will return to Mexico, Central America, and South America as early as August.

Most are very hungry during migration and take advantage of food offered at feeders. It's quite a sight to see this distinctive black and white bird with a bright red chest! The females resemble a large brown sparrow with a white eyebrow. The name “grosbeak” is from the French word grosbec and means “large beak.”

They are very common feeder birds at the beginning of spring preferring sunflower, safflower, suet, fruit, and nuts. As the bird establishes its nesting territory and the weather changes, over half of their diet is made up of insects. But they always are attracted to the water in a bath.

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak nests in deciduous and mixed forests. But the bird is still a bit of a mystery. Its life history has not been well-studied and little is known on their migration routes, dispersal, habitat use, and nutrition during migration and on wintering grounds. Even the species name ludovicianus which means "from Louisiana" doesn't make sense because it is just a migrant there.

If you don’t see them at your feeder keep your ears open. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology describes the Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) song like that of the robin, only as sung by an opera singer, being mellower and more sweetly melodic.

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JosephAlsarraf said...

Very interesting birds, one of my favorites!
: )

Garden Centre said...

So beautiful post and some impression is looking to forward from here i am so inspired here.
Thanks for sharing....

Garden centre in Bolton

Mary@Going Native said...

A rose-breasted grosbeak was at our feeder in North Oakland County, in Michigan, yesterday. Unlike the tufted titmouse, the grosbeak was curious and watched me as I took a photo of him with my phone.

Anonymous said...

I am in Ashley, North Dakota and today is the first time I have ever seen this bird. At my feeder today and probably off to Canada tomorrow. There are gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

I am in Milltown, Wi and today is the first time in 12 years that I have ever seen one of these.... and there were 2 !

its an old fart thing said...

rose breasted gros beek at our feed just now, Fredericton , New Brunswick , Canada . a first for my wife and I

Anonymous said...

Just saw my first one in Appleton wi. I played the audio a few times and he answered back!

Davisfarms said...

We are in Whitwell, TN and just saw this beautiful bird in our yard! We had to look online to identify him! Gorgeous!

Jan L said...

We are at a campground in middle TN and they have been at our feeder for the past month. Beautiful birds and so much fun to watch.

Anonymous said...

Just seen a Rose breasted Grosbeak for the first time at my feeder.
What a beautiful bird. 05/14/2018. South Eastern Penna.

Anonymous said...

Just saw a Rose Breasted Grosbeak at my feeder in Petoskey, Michigan.