Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Evening Grosbeak Babies

Of all of the wonderful birds that live on our property throughout the year, I think my favorites are the Evening Grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinuse). Part of what makes them special is the fact that they aren't here for much of the year. They arrive in a small flocks in the middle of Spring and normally have migrated for higher elevations in June. For the last few years we have had one family stay and raise its family before departing. This year it appeared that we had two families stay as we often were seeing two males and two females at the feeders.This week our two families guess seems to have been confirmed. Early in the week I spied this female eating at the feeder. Beside her was this young male.

Every time she quit feeding herself he begged for her to feed him. It was quite effective! In past years it had appeared that our families always had just one offspring, so I though this was her only fledgling.

However, two days later I caught this female at the feeder with a begging boy on each side of her! Although the boys haven't yet gained their striking yellow beak and "eyebrow" stripe that they will have in adulthood, you can tell that they are males by their single, large white oval on each wing. As you can see, the females have white patches instead on their wings. This mother bounced back an forth between the two feeding them seed. What was funny was as she fed one chick, the other chick ate seed by itself. They both could do it but still wanted Mom to feed them! Our feeling that we had two families was most likely confirmed the next day when my sister saw a female feeding a female chick. Needless to say, I am very happy. It has been great having two families stick around this year and I am super pleased that they seem to have raised three healthy babies.

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