Our visiting Rose Breasted Grosbeaks
by diana mentzer
We live in Pasadena MD and every year we have 1-3 Rose Breasted Grosbeaks visit our feeders in the back yard. They are very territorial when at the feeders and chase away any birds that get too close. They seem to like the sunflower/safflower mix most but sometimes they visit the suet feeder chasing away even the large red bellied woodpecker. They only stay a couple of days and then I guess they head north. We look forward to their arrival just as we do the hummingbirds every year.
Yes, they are on their way further north - but aren't you lucky to enjoy them for a few days. The female has not a rose-colored feather on her. She is a streaked, brown bird, resembling an overgrown sparrow, with a thick, exaggerated finch bill and a noticeable white eyebrow. While they winter in the tropics, the male's feathers are the same as hers - so even his name then does not fit.
But when he returns to the states in May, he is definitely a rose-breasted grosbeak.
He has a sweet joyous warble song - loud and clear, but tender - that puts him in the first rank of our songsters. (Definitely an American Idol finalist!)
The male is a true gentleman. Not only does he bring food to his mate while she is brooding, but he actually takes his turn sitting on the pale greenish-blue speckled eggs. As a lover, husband and father he is faultless.