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Nature Journal - A Rose-breasted Grosbeak Visiting Our Backyard


watercolor by Gloria Mei


Did you know:


  1. Male Rose-breasted Grosbeaks undergo a "partial molt" after the breeding season, where they replace some of their feathers. During this molt, the vibrant red feathers on their chests are replaced with duller ones, resembling the plumage of females. This change in appearance helps them camouflage and avoid attracting predators during their migration


2. Both male and female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks have melodious songs similar to the American robin. Their songs are a beautiful addition to the sounds of spring and summer


3. Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are opportunistic feeders. They consume a varied diet that includes insects, berries, seeds such as sunflower and safflower, tree flowers, and tree buds. They play a role in controlling insect populations and also contribute to seed dispersal.


4. Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are known for their unique feeding behavior called "bill-clicking." They use a distinct clicking sound created by snapping their bills together, primarily during courtship displays and aggressive encounters with other birds. This behavior is thought to serve as a form of communication and territorial defense


5. Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are migratory birds. They breed in central Canada and the northern United States during the summer, and then migrate south to Central America and the northern countries of South America for the winter. Their distinctive presence and songs make them an enjoyable sight during their seasonal visits.


Helpful Links:


- Rose-breasted Grosbeak Overview: [National Zoo](https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/rose-breasted-grosbeak)

- Songs and Calls of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks: [All About Birds](https://www.allaboutbirds.org)

- Tracking Rose-breasted Grosbeaks with Season Watch: [Season Watch](https://seasonwatch.umn.edu/rose-breasted-grosbeak)


Wildlife garden tips:


- Provide a variety of food sources to attract Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, such as bird feeders stocked with sunflower and safflower seeds, as well as flowering plants that produce berries or attract insects.


- Consider planting shrubs or small trees in your yard to provide suitable nesting sites for these birds.


- Minimize the use of pesticides in your garden to preserve the availability of insects, which are an important part of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak's diet.


Observing and appreciating the visits of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks in your backyard can be a delightful experience. By creating a welcoming environment with food, nesting options, and a pesticide-free space, you can encourage these beautiful birds to grace your garden with their presence.

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