Monday, December 10, 2012
Grosbeaks come to Call
At this time of year, the skies are flown empty as our summer visitors migrate to the south.
There are stalwarts who stay year round, but they are not always seen at the bird feeders.
So it was a treat yesterday to have a visit from a Pine Grosbeak. The name comes from the thick heavy bill, perfect for snapping apart seeds and pine cones. Described as a "large, unwary finch", the fine folk out on the Newfoundland Rock call this slow moving bird a "mope".
During most of the year, 99% of diet is vegetable matter, especially buds, seeds, and fruits of spruce, pine, juniper, elm, maple, mountain ash, apple, and crabapple. In summer, it feeds insects and spiders to its young, though, often mixed with plant foods. It drinks water or eats snow daily so keeping a bird bath in the garden will encourage them to visit. Of course, here, there is no shortage of water!
The female, seen cleaning up sunflowers on my deck, is modestly dressed, and can confuse birdwatchers trying to identify her. There is no mistaking the males, however, when they show up!
Posted by Nancy Tapley at 8:02 AM