Evening Grosbeaks

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Here is a bird that you don’t see too often. I have done many breeding bird surveys in Northern Ontario and have rarely encountered them. The only place that you have a good chance of seeing them is at bird feeders in remote communities such as Cochrane or Smooth Rock Falls.

These are Evening Grosbeaks. They are large and short-tailed with a massive head and bill. Females are gray-green with touches of yellow, a white throat and patches of white in the wing.

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The males have yellow bodies, black wings and tail, a yellow stripe over the eyes and across the forehead and big white wing patches.

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The bird resembles a large goldfinch at first sight. The singing note is something like a very resonant house sparrow chip. Evening grosbeaks are usually found in tight flocks and they do not mix with other species.

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They feed mainly on insects or the seeds of trees. Evening grosbeaks nest in coniferous forests but visit deciduous woodlands and suburban areas in winter. A few showed up in Toronto’s High Park in December, 2015.

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Numbers fluctuate wildly from place to place and from year to year; this unpredictability, added to their natural beauty, makes them a fascinating species to watch and study. In about the winter of 1975, there were large flocks of them in suburban Qu├ębec City. Some of the photos accompanying this article, which were taken at that time, clearly show this amazing congregation.

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Miles Hearn

 

1 thought on “Evening Grosbeaks

  1. Kelly Hamilton

    I just identified this bird at my feeder..just 1! A male! I saw him in our yard,which is surrounded by forest in Duvall, Washington USA, on March 23,2019! Thrilling!!

    Reply

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