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 6, 2015

Rose-breasted grosbeak diet

I'm seeing lots of sparrows. I love feeding the birds and watching them. Today I had a Rose-breasted grosbeak at my feeder! What a beauty. Anyone else?

Make sure to keep those feeders filled in the spring and summer so you don't miss seeing some really neat birds up close. Orioles, hummingbirds, and an abundance of different species of sparrows have all been reported by several excited Wild Birds Unlimited customers. And the storm must have blown up the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks too.

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are beautiful black and white bird with a brilliant blood-red bib. The name “grosbeak” is from the French word grosbec and means “large beak.” The females resemble a large brown sparrow with a white eyebrow.

A relative of the Northern Cardinal, the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks migrate north in April and May in search of breeding grounds in Michigan. Most are very hungry after migration and take advantage of food offered at feeders. 

They prefer sunflower, safflower, suet, fruit, nuts and seed cylinders. As the bird establishes its nesting territory and the weather changes, many will leave the feeders as over half of their diet changes to 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.

Related Articles:
Large brown sparrow-like bird http://bit.ly/IrwgVk
Juvenile Rose Breasted Grosbeak http://bit.ly/IoVuSG
Average dates for birds return to Michigan the in Spring? http://bit.ly/IMYNQe
When is bird migration over? http://bit.ly/IMZ7OQ
What to know about feeding birds in the spring http://bit.ly/I5s6h9

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