The Rose-breasted Grosbeak
The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is one of the spring migrants that elicit excited ooh-aahs from those seeing their very first grosbeak and even from those who see them year after year. The male of this species is one of the sharpest looking of North American migrants. The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a bit smaller than a robin and has a very robin-like song, but that’s where the similarities stop.
The males and females are completely different except for their large conical bill; the male has a black head and back, black and white wings and a bright red breast patch. The female is mostly brown, has a buffy belly and a pale crown and a wide eye stripe. You can find the grosbeak anywhere at Mount Auburn, and it can be found in a wide variety of habitats including coming to your backyard feeders. It is for the most part just a visitor to Mount Auburn from the last days of April through the third week of May, though it is occasionally seen during the summer and was suspected of nesting several years ago. For its nesting area, the grosbeak prefers an area with large trees close together where it can forage in the canopy gleaning insects. The grosbeaks also eat seeds, buds and fruits. Unlike its close relatives the Cardinal and Evening Grosbeak which tolerate our winters, the Rose-breast winters to Mexico and northern South America.