The Blue Grosbeak

For a few days I have been observing a female Blue Grosbeak in nearly the same location every afternoon. At first, I was only able to snap a very grainy photo, but it was sufficient to recognize her extremely large bill. After getting a bit of feedback from “the experts” I was fairly confident that the bird was indeed a Grosbeak. I was surprised about this because the Audubon and All About Birds websites say that their breeding range is ‘uncommon’ per the former and outside of my area per the latter source.

The day after I shot the grainy but fairly conclusive images, I encountered the female again. In fact, she continued to vocalize a single chirp the entire time I was watching her. If she hadn’t done so, I would have never been able to find her in the thick foliage of the tree.

Two days later I went to the same location and, as if she knew I was there for her photo-shoot, the female Blue Grosbeak chirped continuously and I was able to take even better images. I also heard another bird responding to her chirps with the same sound, and suddenly the male flew into range. He landed in the tree near the female, then flitted off to a smaller tree, then to a fence top, and then flitted away. I never got the chance to film him. However, his existence was confirmed and I was motivated to get a picture of him.

Today, I sat in the same location…waiting. Flies were biting me and I was hot. But, I maintained hope that the birds would show up like they had the prior afternoon. First, the female arrived. She took a position in the same maple tree that I had originally seen her. It is very challenging to get a good shot because there’s an old fence that holds me back from the actual field where I’ve seen the birds. Fortunately, then she flew to the fence and while it’s farther away, the lighting is better. I was able to shoot a couple of shots of the girl. When I catch the glint in a bird’s eyes, I feel that I’ve achieved a level of success that, as an amateur photographer, I find satisfying.

Finally, the male arrived. Like yesterday he was not going to make it easy for me. There are weeds over four foot tall that toy with my attempts to focus past them. The field has many small volunteer trees of several varieties that get in the way of a shot. And, that dang fence impedes my access to the Grosbeak’s favorite spot. The photos I was able to get of the male are not stellar. Still, I was able to capture a few images of this handsome bird.

Perhaps tomorrow or another day I will be able to capture the true essence of this interesting specimen.

4 Comments on “The Blue Grosbeak

  1. You have done some great describing and reporting on the blue Grosbeaks! Some nice photos as well! Great contribution! Did you share where these birds are earlier in your narrative?

    • Thank you. We are located in Fayette County, IL (about 2/3 of the way down the State from the northern border – and nearly central from east to west.)

  2. Thank you! It wasn’t easy to take a photo of the male, and I am still going to try to get a better quality image… but, he seems far more flighty than the female that will stay chirping for as long as it takes me to finally see her in all the leaves!

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