Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rose-breasted Grosbeak, today's FOS

My friend Amy said she’s had a Rose-breasted Grosbeak visiting the last couple of days. Thanks to her, I’ve been on the lookout for one of the beautiful, black and white-backed birds with the large, blood-red triangle on a snow-white breast. We often get First of Season (FOS) birds within days of each other. Amy lives in Aguilar, not all that far from La Veta, really; about a 30 mile drive, but only 15 as a bird flies. (Yes, we’re that rural).

I grow a lovely plant called a Bleeding-heart, which has heart-shaped flowers with a small bit at the tip of the heart…which adds to the look that the ‘heart’ is bleeding. This male bird’s breast reminds me of that, as the tip of its heart-shaped mark ‘drips’ down the middle of its breast; a stunning bird.

I couldn’t find a photo of the female Rose-breasted Grosbeak, but they are very similar to this shot I took of a female Black-headed Grosbeak (below). However, the Black-headed Grosbeak has paler, narrower and less streaking on the under parts, especially at the center of the breast, which is more yellowish-buff than the whiter female Rose-breasted. Also, the female Black-headed Grosbeak’s head and nape are more yellowish-buff and it sports lemon-yellow under the wing…rather than the paler, buffy-yellow of the female Rose-breasted’s wing linings. I dunno, female birds are generally less spectacular, more like plain, brown birds, but I find these large females rather pretty, in spite of the large schnozz.

You can find a bit more info and more photos of the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks in my yard on last year’s blog postings here. You'll also get an idea of the mix of birds I'll likely see in my yard over the next month or so. Lordy, I do love springtime!

Google has lots of images of this bird
here.

As a sidenote, I thought I'd let you know, the female hummers have arrived, too. So far, just Broad-tailed and Black-chinned Hummingbirds are here. More to come...

Except where noted, photos from Wikipedia.

1 comment:

DJB's Photo Adventures said...

Wow! You are a lucky lady, we only see one of those every couple of years in the fall when they are flying south! Nice find!