Friday, August 11, 2006

The Birds In Our Yard - Black-headed Grosbeaks

On May 3, 2006, a pair of Black-headed Grosbeaks (Pheucticus melanocephalus) flew into our yard. They stayed just a few seconds - long enough for me to notice and to realize that this was a bird I hadn't seen before. They returned the next three mornings to eat from the quail block. I believe these are both males. The curious bird on the top of the block is a female House Finch. On the fifth day, these Grosbeaks returned with a third one, also a male, for a very brief period. I haven't seen them since. I hope they come back to visit next year.

Black-headed Grosbeaks are migratory birds with nesting grounds ranging from southwestern British Columbia through the western half of the United States and into central Mexico. They spend their winters in the mountains of Mexico.

They eat a varied diet. They can easily crack open heavy seeds with their huge beaks. Farmers value them highly because they consume harmful insects. The Black-headed Grosbeak is one of the few birds that can eat monarch butterflies, despite the noxious chemicals that the monarchs accumulate from their milkweed diet. Black-headed Grosbeaks eat many monarchs on their wintering grounds. (Birdweb)

6 comments:

Endment said...

Grosbeaks are some of my favorite visitors - we don't get the Black-headed Grosbeaks of your wonderful photos so I am delighted to see your visitors
Great information - thanks

robin andrea said...

We have several pairs of Black-headed grosbeaks that spend their summer in our backyard. When they arrive they are quite alarmed by our comings and goings. But as summer progresses, they warm up to us a bit so we can open our back door, walk around outside, and they stay on the feeder. Beautiful photos, pam.

Cindy said...

I haven't viewed this species in way too long.. lovely photos and I'm glad they paid you a visit :)

Pam in Tucson said...

endment - I remember Evening Grosbeaks from back east. I was thrilled to see these Black-headed Grosbeaks here. I'd love to see some others.

ra - I saw Black-headed Grosbeaks again in Canada. I hope these return to our yard and stay awhile.

cindy - I'm having so much fun learning a bit about birds. It's a new world for me. It was a great experience to see these. I hope you'll get to see them again soon.

MrsGreenThumb said...

Great images, I'm delighted to learn about these birds. I've always enjoyed visits to my yard but have never learned about the various varieties of birds. Last year I had quite a stand of Hooker's primrose and was amazed when I walked outside one day and there were hundreds of small birds eating the seeds. I grabbed my work camera and got a quick shot. The biologist at work told me they were Lesser Goldfinches. A friend once said: When you invite Mother Nature into your yard, don't be surprised when she arrives.

Kerri said...

Your bird pictures are wonderful! You see different birds there...how nice for us to be able to see them through your camera's eye :)
That's a great shot you got of the hummingbird in the rain....and all the others too.
Those wasp and bee shots on the orange flowers are so clear. Just beautiful!
That was a lot of rain you had. We've had 3 sunny days after 6 rainy days, and are expecting a downpour tomorrow...leftovers from Earnesto. Too much rain! I shouldn't complain, at least we don't have to deal with the actual hurricane. I feel for those who did.