I saw her again on Friday and there was no mistaking her identity. She was perfect in size, her white eyebrow shining in the sun, her pale bill so obvious. She was gorgeous. Our first female Red-breasted Grosbeak had indeed arrived. It shouldn't have been much of a surprise. After all, I spotted the first male on September 24.
She came to one of the feeders for a nice meal. Such a beauty.
So, why was I viewing this bird with such mixed feelings? Because the arrival of the females signals the departure of the males. When I saw her, I knew I would have only a few days to see this bird:
Or this one:
Just as we do every fall, we have so enjoyed seeing the bright (and not so bright) males. We are very fortunate that they seem to love our woods and interrupt their long journey to take a little respite here. In a few days, the males will be gone, but we will have more and more females to join our early arrival. We will love them as well, and lament their decision to travel on.
And with the spring will come the even more brilliant males. We already look forward to seeing them.