The gift of birdwatching: Rose-breasted grosbeak

The male rose-breasted grosbeak has a bright red breast. Photo by Ray Harden

The female rose-breasted grosbeak is less brightly colored than the male. Photo by Ray Harden

Even if you can’t name the rose-breasted grosbeak, you most likely have identified one.

The “red bib,” juxtaposed against a white belly and black throat, is visually arousing. Red, more than any other color, creates a physiological response in people.

The birds show up at feeding stations for a few days in May and then seemingly disappear. They nest in Iowa, but after May they are more often heard than seen.

Their call sounds like an over-caffeinated American robin, nearly twice as fast and with higher highs and lower lows.

Learn how your next cup of coffee impacts grosbeaks and other neotropical migrants.

Mike Havlik is a naturalist with the Dallas County Conservation Department.


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