Grosbeaks in Aurora, Ohio
by Theresa Douglas
(Aurora, Ohio, USA)
We have seen the female and a baby grosbeak at our Squirrel Buster Plus feeder this summer. We are feeding coarse shelled sunflower seeds with a seed hoop attached where ground feeders eat from the net. The baby is brownish with white wings patches and a thick beak. The female grosbeak also enjoys eating peanuts (without shell or casing) from a large rough wood tray feeder made with hardware cloth stapled to the 12 inch tall sides that serves both clinging and perching birds.
The female grosbeak tends to feed in the midst of black birds, sparrows, cardinals, nuthatches, and finches. Although we have only seen black and white markings from the rear of a bird during flight, we think we may have seen a male at the peanut feeder a few times gathering bits of peanuts. We wondered if these sightings took place when the female was caring for eggs or the young offspring. We have never seen more than one grosbeak at a time on any of our feeders, nor can we positively determine we have seen a male at the feeder. Additionally, we may have seen a rare female black-headed grosbeak feeding at the seed hoop beneath the feeder. The bird resembles a female tricolored black bird with an orange throat and thick beak.
The baby grosbeak sits alone on the cardinal ring of the sunflower feeder for extended periods and appears to be resting. During one of these periods, the baby was knocked off the ring by a three young tricolored black birds. As we sat at the patio table very near the feeder early one evening, the baby grosbeak landed on my husband's knee briefly before awkwardly flying to the cover of a large clematis vine nearby. The baby grosbeak has distinctive white patches across the wing tips and back.