Thursday, September 27, 2007

The bird geek is kind of excited

Via Wikimedia Commons

I was sitting at the dinner table just before sunset, watching the birds at my backyard feeders, and I saw what I thought were 2 female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. They're so pretty, and it's always a pleasure to see them as they come through on their migration. They don't normally nest or winter here.

The more I looked at them, though, the more they didn't look "right" somehow. They had color but no streaks on their breasts, and their eyestripe was a lot more vivid than usual. So I pulled out the Peterson bird book and realized that they matched the picture and description of the Black-headed Grosbeak--a bird common on the plains, but rarely found this far east. According to both the Peterson guide and the eNature site, they hybridize with the Rose-breasted along the eastern part of their range, and Peterson says they sometimes stray all the way to the Atlantic states. I'm pretty certain of my ID, so I'm considering this an official rare bird sighting.

It takes so little to make bird girl happy.


David Maddox said...

Any chance of getting those birds to hang around til I get home? Tell them a fellow midwesterner will be around to keep them company.

Anonymous said...


Dawn (your bird crazy partner)

Anonymous said...

Lucky you! We had rose-breasted early in the summer but we haven't seen any this fall. We've never seen a black-headed. Grossbeaks are one of nature's treasures.

BitterGrace said...

You should keep an eye out for them, Bozo. I'd be very interested to know if other people are seeing the strays.

Dawn, I would love to come out west sometime just to bird watch. It would be so much fun.

chayaruchama said...

I try not to be covetous-
But you get all the nice birds.
It's SO unfair...