Greetings all! My apologies as it has been awhile since my last real post. I actually thought things would calm down after the stress of Halloween had finally passed, but alas, was not meant to be. I formally announced recently, but for those who missed it, I have finally decided to put the official cap on a relatively long career. Fortunately, still young in physical age – after 31.5 years in IT the mental strain is what starts to chip away at you. A mere 8 more mornings of getting up early, grabbing a bite to eat and opening the ol’ laptop for a day spent in the mesmerizing glow of a large international corporation. At this point, not sure who is more excited, me or my wife who will finally get to start enjoying here retirement which officially began at the beginning of the year.
Actually, the most excited should be you! This means more time in the field, more time to observe life and best of all, more time to spend “relaxing” in front of the keyboard producing posts. Trust me, there are times when I have spent 10+ hours on the work laptop and then had to come home and will myself to sit in front of another computer for more hours. Don’t get me wrong, this is a labor of love — there is just a limit to how many words one can produce on any given day. I can tell when this happens in my final post read-thrus – some can get overly cranky and guessing these days, none of us need more of that in our lives. Bear with me a few more weeks and we’ll get this blog thingy running smoothly. Until then, how about we take a look at Mrs. Grosbeak.
Our little lady comes to us from my backyard one rainy day in May 2018. Oh, that reminds me. The other big plus with the retirement plans – hoping to get caught up on my photo queue and start bringing you much fresher posts! (should probably stress the word “hoping” there – Linda’s honey-do list is currently longer than Santa’s naughty list.). Our specimen was hanging out in the drizzle keeping watch for any young males that might come strutting by. The Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks will show up here in late spring early summer timeframe and hang around for a month or so before they just seem to disappear.
Hit the jump to read a bit more about our local Rosies. Cornell didn’t list their actual migration timings so not sure if they are just late arrivals and early departures or they are just pretentious and dislike my seed offerings preferring more formal dining settings. In either case, I always enjoy their presence as they tend to brighten up the place. Well, mainly the males on that front. The females are adorned in browns and whites. This one even has a hint of rose blush on the breast – note, Cornell’s reference shots did not confirm this trait which led to initially think this was a juvi male which are more of a cross of the duller female and male, however, the reference shots show more male qualities than this one – clearly this is a female who might have slipped a bit putting on her lipstick. Will keep an eye out in the field and see if this is common or not – they may all just suck at putting lipstick on those beefy bills ha.
Eventually a male did decide to play the field. The white wing bar, the brown streaking around the white breast and that bold white eyebrow can lead to a fairly quick ID of the female. You will never have to spend time figuring out if you have a male Rose-Breasted Grosbeak. The black hood, the white belly and then the brilliant rose colored necklace are unmistakable. If you are more familiar with your standard backyard birds that thick bill is another giveaway if you can tear yourself away from looking at his necklace. Chuckling to myself, I always joke to myself that these males really have an all white breast and what is really happening is make-out lipstick transfer from the females – “‘dem male Grosbeaks be some players hehehe”.
Our male specimen was busy hamming it up for the ladies… and the camera – striking seductive poses to gain favor from the hotties. Looking for a female to take back across the Gulf of Mexico for wintering. Their songs are beautifully full of rising and falling sweetness that permeates throughout the woods. They say it is similar to a Robin’s, but I find it much more fuller and brighter than their Cheerios. Just a single picture left, so better mention a few tidbits to make the read worth your while. Hmmm, not much there to really highlight beyond they are crappy nest builders unless their chicks prefer to come out of their shells and be able to see straight through to the ground below – “Hi kids, welcome to the world.. oh and watch your step, we opted for the open floor plan”.
I hate to end with a sad story, but this year did bring a heartbreak with regards to this species. I was sitting at the kitchen table doing work one afternoon when these beauties made their first appearance in the area. So excited I texted my brothers to officially announce their arrival. If there is one bright spot with the pandemic it’s the fact I have been able to work near our large windows or on our porch allowing for much more awareness of the coming and goings of wildlife. About two hours after texting their arrival I hear a nasty thump. Heart immediately sank as I saw a brown and white mass drop past the window to the ground. One of the females had apparently seen its reflection and decided to challenge it. Ran out, made sure it was laying on its feet and comfortable. Find that if you do that you have about a 70% chance of them recovering. This one ended up in the 30% unlucky groupings. Flew all the way across the Gulf Coast, makes its way northward for several more states and then “wham” life ended. A gut wrench for what was a glorious day not two hours before. Eventually a few more females ended up making their way in the area so the males had mate opportunities. Sorry for the sad ending, but life isn’t always rosie.