Good morning everyone! Also, Happy Friday! And Happy International Cabin Fever Day! You haven’t heard of that one? It hasn’t been around for very long, about 8 or 9 years now, always on the last Friday of January which is about half way through our winter. It’s one of those fun holidays and you have probably heard of many such fun holidays. This one I started, but more on that another time.
Time to grab a coffee, or tea, and relax with Muffin and I for awhile. Muffin is at the window waiting for you to arrive, she always gets excited about this post, the first of the day. It is much milder this morning with a temp of only -19C (-2F), and it looks like we will get some sunshine this morning. Speaking of sunshine, let’s look at a sunny yellow bird, the evening grosbeak.
In the 1820s settlers noticed this bird in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies and it always came out in the evening, thus the name for it. Since that time it has spread right across Canada from coast to coast and it goes well down into the US as well. An amazing expansion for a bird, possibly helped along by the popularity of feeding birds by people. The males are very colorful as you can see by the pics with the females much duller in appearance. Both have large bills for the size of the bird, but other grosbeak species also have these large bills.
In winter the bill is bone colored and in spring it takes on a very green color. Although it has many calls and one short song, it’s most familiar call is a simple, loud chirp. It’s an important bird for eating harmful insects, especially the spruce budworm which can devastate whole forests. Each bird will eat up to 1,000 of these budworms per day! And feed large quantities to their young. They love the seeds from cones of spruce, balsam, and pine, the fruits of many wild shrubs and trees (actually it’s just the seeds in the fruits they want), but they prefer the seeds of Manitoba maple (and other maples) and box elder.
Little is known of their nesting activities, they move deeper into the forest for nesting and seem to like having several pairs living fairly close together. They are easily attracted to bird feeders and love sunflower seeds. One bird was recorded eating 96 sunflower seeds at one sitting! I have over 30 of these birds coming to my feeder, that’s a lot of seeds! And they always move the seed around in their beak so they can crack it open lengthwise.
They also consume large quantities of salt and are often seen along the side of roads picking up salt and sand. They are always a welcome and cheerful looking and cheerful sounding bird to have around during the winter. But they are an erratic bird, there can be large numbers one winter and none the next. Well, I hope you enjoyed our brief look at this beautiful bird. Have a wonderful day and God bless!
Steve and Muffin.
©2021 Steve McLeod.