Saturday, April 28, 2012

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Indigo Bunting's pleasant appearance brought me to a large Tulip Poplar tree. In a short 15 minutes, I observed 25 species. I managed to snap a beautiful male Rose-breasted Grosbeak  (Pheucticcus ludovicianus).  This grosbeak flew down from the top of a Tulip tree and landed on a hardy Hibiscus tree. They are migratory and based on what I documented from the past, they'll stay around for a week to 10 days and they are like cardinals, love sunflower seeds.

Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak on a Hibiscus tree (Click image to enlarge)
Tulip Poplar (see pic below) also called Tulip tree is the tallest eastern hardwood and native to North America. It's a fast growing tree and it can grow over 80 feet and it begins to flower in April. The flowers produce large amount of nectar and attract birds, especially hummingbirds and waxwings.  Below is a list of what I saw in my 15 minutes:

1 Red-shouldered Hawk : this hungry hawk was chased by two crows
2 Mourning Doves : napping on tulip tree
3 Chimney Swifts : flying and circling above tree
2 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds:  one male and one female
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker : he loves hanging around for worms on tulip trees
3 Downy Woodpeckers : one male and two females...they are chasing around each other
2 Blue Jays : they are skittish and they like to observe
2 American Crows : just for you to know that, believe it or not, I feed crows too...wanna know why? I am working on a post to tell you a story of "One Legged Crow" ....
3 Carolina Chickadees : the smartest little birds and they always bring me surprises, I mean like warblers
5 Tufted Titmice: they own this tree :)
2 White-breasted Nuthatches : I can not tell you which one is male or female. But I am sure they are a pair
2 Carolina Wrens : they have a love nest underneath tulip tree
too many Blue-gray Gnatcatchers : they are too high up on tree and I only hear them
2 Eastern Bluebirds : a beautiful pair nest in the box I made for them ...
1 Wood Thrush : hear songs...hidden nearby
3 American Robins : singing on tree and most of time, they forage on ground
7 Cedar Waxwings : yeah, I still see lingering waxwings and they love tulip poplar's flowers. They stay for about 10 minutes today.
2 Eastern Towhees : a pair towhee forage on ground near tree
3 Chipping Sparrows :  two fledglings fed by their parent
1 White-throated Sparrow : yes, I still see them
16 + Northern Cardinals : most of them are males, 4 or 5 females. They also love nectar
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak : I saw three males on Friday...Grosbeaks are migratory and based on what I documented from the past, they'll stay around for a week to 10 days and continue their journey to the north.

Female Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Click image to enlarge)
2 Indigo Buntings (post is coming soon) : I got attracted by hearing their melody and thank to them I saw many other species
1 male Brown-headed Cowbird : most birders don't like cowbirds. But I love them equally and this male chased away three other males. 
2 American Goldfinches : goldfinches also love Tulip tree. I'm not sure if they just like to perch or if they find worms 

Tulip Poplar flower
Ok, I'm having fun for my quick 15 minutes birding. If we just pay attention and listen, we then will find surprises everyday. This Tulip tree (flower to the right was taken about 30 feet from the ground) was completely leafless about a month ago, now it's full of life. Not only does it provide food and shelter for many resident and migratory birds, it provides me with something fresh and vital that I can not live without. Trees breathe so we breathe. Next time, when you believe you need to cut down your backyard trees, please give a second thought and think what benefit you might be losing! -- Happy Birding! -- Linda

Update: I snapped this female the very next day (early Saturday morning) and I have not seen them after the weekend.


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  1. I do love crows for their fearlessness and also for their entertaining antics, but they can really be bullies!

  2. Mimi, I know there are a lot of birders don't like crows for many reasons. But to me, they are one of the most smart birds on earth. As you know I love all birds equally :)


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