Birds to brighten your Day: May 17

Photo by Chris Bosak
A rose-breasted grosbeak shows off its red feathers in its “wing pits” in New England, May 2020. Merganser Lake.

A Day on Merganser Lake

Male rose-breasted grosbeaks are known for their beautiful plumage: contrasting black-and-white overall with a large rose-red triangle patch on the chest. The red under the wings is not seen often, even in flight. Here’s a shot that shows that extra splash of color.

(Repeat text for context:  I’m running out of COVID-19 lockdown themes so from now until things get back to some semblance of normalcy, I will simply post my best photo from the previous day. You could say it fits because of its uncertainty and challenge. I’ll call the series “A Day on Merganser Lake,” even though that’s not the real name of the lake I live near in southwestern Connecticut, it’s just a nod to my favorite duck family.)

Photo by Chris Bosak A rose-breasted grosbeak shows off its red feathers in its “wing pits” in New England, May 2020. Merganser Lake.

Birds to brighten your day: May 11

Photo by Chris Bosak
A rose-breasted grosbeak perches on a feeder in New England, May 2020. Merganser Lake.

A Day in Merganser Lake XX

This isn’t the first and hopefully won’t be the last rose-breasted grosbeak in this series. I’m pretty sure they nested in the woods behind my property two years ago. I’m hoping they repeat that this year. Daily visits by rose-breasted grosbeaks would certainly brighten up these odd times.

(Repeat text for context:  I’m running out of COVID-19 lockdown themes so from now until things get back to some semblance of normalcy, I will simply post my best photo from the previous day. You could say it fits because of its uncertainty and challenge. I’ll call the series “A Day on Merganser Lake,” even though that’s not the real name of the lake I live near in southwestern Connecticut, it’s just a nod to my favorite duck family.)

Birds to brighten your day: May 2

Photo by Chris Bosak A rose-breasted grosbeak visits a feeder in New England, May 2020. Merganser Lake.

A Day on Merganser Lake XXIII

On the first day of May, “my” rose-breasted grosbeaks showed up. First, it was one male at my bedroom window feeder. Later, it was two males — both at my backyard feeding station. Welcome back! I look forward to seeing more of their relatives in the coming weeks.

Remember, always feel free to let me know via email or comment what you’re seeing.

(Repeat text for context:  I’m running out of COVID-19 lockdown themes so from now until things get back to some semblance of normalcy, I will simply post my best photo from the previous day. You could say it fits because of its uncertainty and challenge. I’ll call the series “A Day on Merganser Lake,” even though that’s not the real name of the lake I live near in southwestern Connecticut, it’s just a nod to my favorite duck family.)

A few yard visitors, part I

Photo by Chris Bosak
A rose-breasted grosbeak eats safflower seeds from a feeder in Danbury, Conn., May 2019.

Now that Warbler Week has passed and the spring migration is on a downward trend (but far from over), I’ll take the next few weeks to share photos of some yard visitors I’ve had this spring. As always, feel free to contact me with what birds you’ve been seeing. Send to chrisbosak26@gmail.com. Be sure to include the town and state in which the sighting was made. Thanks!

Good backyard visitors so far this spring

Photo by Chris Bosak A male rose-breasted grosbeak visits a feeder in Danbury, Conn., during the spring of 2018.

Photo by Chris Bosak A male rose-breasted grosbeak visits a feeder in Danbury, Conn., during the spring of 2018.

We still have a few weeks left of peak spring migration, so this list is not inclusive (I hope not anyway), but the feeder has been active recently with the following birds: rose-breasted grosbeak (male and female); chipping sparrow; goldfinch; gray catbird; blue jay; cardinal (male and female); indigo bunting (first spring male); red-bellied woodpecker; white-breasted nuthatch; tufted titmouse; black-capped chickadee; downy woodpecker; hairy woodpecker; mourning dove; house finch; ruby-throated hummingbird (male and female); wild turkey; and probably one or two more that aren’t coming to mind at the moment. I bought a new oriole feeder, but no luck yet with that one. What’s been visiting your feeders? Feel free to comment with your list.

Photo by Chris Bosak  A female rose-breasted grosbeak visits a feeder in Danbury, Conn., during the spring of 2018.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A female rose-breasted grosbeak visits a feeder in Danbury, Conn., during the spring of 2018.

Extra rose-breasted grosbeak shot

Photo by Chris Bosak  A rose-breasted grosbeak perches in a tree at Merganser Lake in Connecticut, spring 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A rose-breasted grosbeak perches in a tree at Merganser Lake in Connecticut, spring 2017.

Here’s an extra shot of the male rose-breasted grosbeak I saw at the feeder last month. This was the perch he took before flying over to the feeder to join a female rose-breasted grosbeak that was already on the feeder.

I’ve been meaning to get this photo up on this site for a few weeks. Who’s going to complain about extra rose-breasted grosbeak photos?

Good spring for rose-breasted grosbeaks

Photo by Chris Bosak A female rose-breasted grosbeak eat seeds at a platform feeder at Merganser Lake in Danbury, Conn., in spring 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A female rose-breasted grosbeak eat seeds at a platform feeder at Merganser Lake in Danbury, Conn., in spring 2017.

I didn’t see my first one until May 17, but since then I’ve seen a good number of rose-breasted grosbeaks — always a welcomed sighting in the spring. The male is the flashy bird with black-and-white plumage and signature upside-down bright red triangle on his chest. The female is more muted in color, but still a handsome bird to see at the feeder. They both have large bills (they aren’t called grosbeaks for nothing) and easily crack the sunflower seeds offered at feeders.

I’ve also seen them at suet feeders, so those of us who feed birds into the summer (or year-round) can attract them with a variety of foods. Many people stop feeding birds in the spring. I don’t blame those who have bears to worry about, but those who stop feeding birds once the winter ends miss out on birds such as rose-breasted grosbeaks.

Above is a shot of the female at the feeder. Check out the sizable bill on her. Below is the male and female. Not a great shot, I know, but interesting to see them together. Another female was at the feeder seconds before this shot, but the female shown chased her away.

Photo by Chris Bosak A male and female rose-breasted grosbeak eat seeds at a platform feeder at Merganser Lake in Danbury, Conn., in spring 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A male and female rose-breasted grosbeak eat seeds at a platform feeder at Merganser Lake in Danbury, Conn., in spring 2017.