Wild Birds Unlimited – Omaha, NE

May 27, 2015

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks

Filed under: Birds,Grosbeaks,Rose-breasted Grosbeak — wbuomaha @ 11:15 am
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00006645     Say the name rose-breasted grosbeak and most non-birders look at you like you have either lost your mind or are saying something derogatory.  Those of you fortunate enough to have this delightful bird visit your birdfeeder or bath during the summer months, however, know that neither is the case.  Slightly smaller than a northern cardinal, this neotropic migrant calls the forests of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa home (western Nebraska is the home of the black-headed grosbeak).
Like many songbirds, grosbeaks (“gros” referring to the large cardinal-like bill) are sexually dimorphic.  The male is adorned with a rose-colored chest, black head and back and a striking mix of white, black, and rose wings.  Meanwhile the female wears the drab browns, save for a splash of pink or salmon under each wing, of a bird intent on hiding herself,  nest and eggs or young from would-be predators.

Rose breasted Grosbeak Female     Upon arrival from the tropics, where they overwinter, males begin singing their robin-like melodic song from perches high in the trees, often hidden among the leaves.  They also have a distinctive, sharp call that sounds much like a squeaky hinge.  While males sing, females set about constructing the nest.  Comprised of twigs, leaves and grasses, the rather flimsy nest will become the home for 3-5 colorful eggs that will hatch in 13-14 days.  The young will leave their nest 9-12 days after hatching.  Due to a rather quick nesting cycle, pairs will often attempt a second brood during mid-summer.

00006053     The diet of grosbeaks consists of a combination of insects, seeds and berries; therefore, it is possible to attract them to a feeder of sunflower seeds, in particular.  A bird bath is also a great way to attract these and many other species of summer breeding birds.
Do you have a chance at seeing a rose-breasted grosbeak in your yard?  Well, if you live adjacent to or nearby a woodland or forest, the answer is yes.  If not, chances are not as good but by maintaining your feeding station during the summer and fall, you might catch a glimpse of one or more during the fall migration.  Regardless, find a forest or woodland during the summer and try and find this wonderful bird — you will not be disappointed!

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