4 Little Known Facts About the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

4 Little Known Facts About the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

I was chatting with one of my photographer friends the other day as we were both reflecting on the fact that summer is finally here. Like me, he’s a lifelong bird lover and has multiple feeders in his back yard. He shared some beautiful shots of a male rose-breasted grosbeak feeding at his sunflower and Safflower seed feeder. If you’re lucky enough to see one at your feeder, you’re familiar with their striking black and white plumage, complete with a rose-red patch on the breast. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but their song is absolutely exquisite. The sound is similar to that of a robin, but much more melodic and sweet – almost opera-like. After my conversation with my photographer friend, I went home and did some research on this beautiful bird, hoping I can find some new ways to attract them to my back yard. Here are some of the interesting facts I came across.

Unlike other species, both the male and female share in the incubation process by taking turns during the day (the female incubates during the night). Both sexes sing softly to each other while they switch places. Once the eggs hatch, the male will also assist with feeding the young.

The rose-breasted grosbeak’s nest is so flimsy and thin that their blue-green eggs can often be seen from underneath. In spite of this (or perhaps because of this), the pair will often have a second brood during one season. When this happens, the female will take turns incubating the second set of eggs while her mate remains with the first.

It is one of the few (if not the only) species to devour the Colorado potato bug. It feeds on both the adult insects as well as larvae and will feed both to its young.

A rose-breasted grosbeak pair will defend a fairly large territory – up to two acres of wooded or thick brushy areas. Interestingly enough, they will allow other grosbeaks to feed on their territory as long as they do not sing. If they do sing, they are quickly chased off by an angry male.

If you’re hoping to attract the rose-breasted grosbeak to your back yard this summer, use sunflower or Safflower seeds. Some of our readers even swear by raw peanuts. As long as you keep your feeders stocked, you’ll have a good chance of having them stop by. If you’re looking for a new feeder, take a look at our Hanging Medium Mix Seed Feeder. They’re easy to clean, easy to fill and are made of sturdy ABS materials that withstand the harshest elements. If you do end up attracting a rose-breasted grosbeak, feel free to send us a photo – we’d love to post it on our blog. Good luck!

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