LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

And the Bird Is...

Kudos to everyone who took a guess, and a few bananas to the chimp on the unicycle. Here is the same bird as he moved further up the pole. A Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Had you seen this picture first, the identification would have been easy.


When I was a child, I used to get frustrated because the birds I saw didn't always look like the birds in my bird guide. I expected the birds to get in line and pose exactly they way they were in my book. Only larger reference guides can show a lot of different poses, and hardly anyone shows the birds from the back. I learned quickly that I would have to really study some birds from different angles in order to identify them.
--------Typically, when the grosbeaks migrate through our area, all the hummingbirds are gone. This year however, we have three of them lingering. It was 38 degrees when I snapped this little hummer, all puffed up and looking rather cold. While I'm always glad to see them, I wonder if I am encouraging them to stay. Should I simply remove the feeders so they will move on? I would welcome any advice.



We are delighted to have so many beautiful grosbeaks here for a while. Soon the females will join them and all too quickly they will be gone. We will miss them. But they will return in the spring, more colorful and brighter than ever.

14 comments:

Dog_geek said...

Leaving your hummingbird feeder up is fine - migration is triggered by day length or photoperiod, not by food availability. If they haven't moved on yet, it is good that they still have a food source! Nice pics, as always!

Mary said...

Well, I was agreeing with Delia - weirdo starling :o) I've only seen two or three grosbeaks here so I'm no expert!

I have a few "passing through" hummers, too, Carolyn. I left one feeder full for the few I've seen during the past week or so. Yesterday, I didn't notice any at all. They leave when their hormones tell them, I think. So offering nectar doesn't keep them from heading south.

Ruth said...

This time of year there are many birds that are hard to find in a bird guide. Plumage changes, juveniles, transients...it drives me crazy sometimes. I love your grosbeak picture.

Jayne said...

Always go with your first gut instinct (OK, well, change the sex)! :c) What a great mystery bird ID Carolyn!

scienceguy288 said...

Argh! You are right, that would have been almost too easy from the side. You tease.

fishing guy said...

Carolyn: Those are two neat photos. There are some interestind birds that stop for a short time in the area. They seem to only sit for a short time and are hard to capture. I'm glad my Buckeye has lost it's leaves and I may be able to see more birds in the tree.

marmee said...

two beautiful birds and very nice shots of them.
i have read that it is fine to leave the feeders up until the hummers are gone.
i have never seen a grosbeak in person but this is a great example.

Tina said...

We still are seeing hummers in Pa. and they are still feeding from my flowers, but our nights are getting into the 30's so I'm sure we also will be seeing an exit of these neat little birds. Great picture of the grosbeak and thanks for posting your mystery bird quiz!!

Cicero Sings said...

We don't have that kind of Grosbeak here. The grosbeaks we had visiting for a while have long since gone.

Cheryl said...

Lovely bird the grosbeak....I have never seen one before....

I expect the hummers know when to leave....their body will tell them.....it is probably helpful for them to refuel.......

MicheleRF said...

I miss my grosbeaks!!! Mine have been gone for over a month now and the juncos are here. That can only mean one thing.. winter is on its way!

KatDoc said...

Rose-breasted grosbeak and Ruby-throated hummingbird. Oh, wait. That wasn't the question. Too late again, darn it!

Leave the feeders up. You won't force the hummers to stay, any more than you can make juncos stay south in the spring if you keep seeds out. Your resident birds will go when it is time to go, and you will be feeding the ones from further north that are moving through.

Also, you may, just may, get lucky and pick up a Rufous-sided or other vagrant migrating hummer.

~Kathi

The Birdlady said...

Good morning Carolyn - That little boy grosbeak is going to be a beauty...and your hummer is as fat as mine...I leave my hummingbird feeders up through Oct, - just in case....the flowers are pretty much gone, so I just consider it emergency rations.

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks, everyone for the hummingbird feeder advice. I love seeing them, but certainly don't want to be an enabler.