Chirps and Cheeps

A Photo Journal of My Birding Adventures & Observations

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  Evening Grosbeaks at Home!

Published: November 11, 2018
Tags: My Feeders, evening grosbeak, pine siskin, purple finch

When I got up Friday morning, there was a light dusting of snow with a little icy rain starting.  I thought the precipitation could make for a busy day at the feeders so I stocked everything a little extra heavy, crossing my fingers that something "good" might stop by.

A couple of hours later, when I glanced up from my work out my office window, I saw a few Pine Siskins busy at the nyjer thistle "socks".  Cool!  I got a few photos of them and then went around to check out the feeders at the other side of the house to see if there were more out there.  I nearly fainted when I saw several large, bright yellow and black Evening Grosbeaks grouped around the black oil sunflower seed feeder!  WOW!  This was the very first sighting of these birds in our yard in nearly forty years of living here.  Somehow, I got my feet to carry me back to my office to grab my camera - and thus started a three-day vigil at my feeders.

The grosbeaks didn't stay for long at each visit to the feeders - maybe five to ten minutes at the most.  After that, they disappeared into the woods where they could sometimes be seen picking at sumac fruit and the samaras hanging from the Boxelder trees, which I learned from Joe Fell are a favorite of theirs.  I wondered if that's what attracted them to our yard...

Evening Grosbeaks typically range from the east to west coast across Canada, dipping into the Northwestern US and into New England.  On rare occasions, when food sources are in short supply during winter, they will come further south.  This was predicted to be that kind of year and sure enough, Ron Pittaway, author of the famous Winter Finch Forecast, was right-on once again.  Ron also predicted that other winter finches will be moving south this winter.  Some of the hopefuls are: Common Redpoll, Red Nuthatch and Pine Siskin (both are already here in good numbers!), Red and White-winged Crossbills, and my very big hoped-for bird, the Pine Grosbeak.  Fingers crossed that some of these visit my feeders too!

Over the next few days, several birders, new and experienced, young and old, came to visit and get some looks at these special visitors.  No one went home without at least a view of them, which was very rewarding.  I think they have moved on as they haven't seen for a few hours now - but maybe more will come along, hopefully in the company of some of their cousins!

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My first view of the Evening Grosbeaks at the feeder!

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A beautiful male

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A female Evening Grosbeak

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Another male

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I couldn't get enough of the males and their gorgeous, bright plumage

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A female

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Another female poses nicely

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A striking male with food all over its enormous bill

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A brief pose by a male

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This female kept giving me nice poses!

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A quizzicle look from a female!

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Pine Siskin

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A Pine Siskin with a fancy for suet!

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Female Purple Finch

Reply from: Sara Stein on 11/13/2018 9:48 AM
 Lucky you! Thanks for the info and photos. I will be hoping for them at my feeders!"


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