Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Flying Visit

I was startled yesterday when I good sized bird flew by - it couldn't possibly be a robin already!

Well, it wasn't a robin, but it was a bird I had never spotted before, a female Pine Grosbeak.

Largest of the northern finches, the Pine Grosbeak is less common than the Pine Siskin or the redpolls. The males have a rosy red head and chest.

In our area, these birds are considered an irruptive species, moving south of their normal winter range when populations are high or food sources are scarce farther north.

When these birds do appear, their preference for the seeds and fruit of trees such as mountain ash and cedar makes them more conspicuous than their smaller relatives. They are very tame and slow moving, allowing close approach, which was certainly true with this bird, but she stayed tucked in the tree not allowing me a clear shot.

Now I want to spot a male...

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