The Blue Grosbeak

This summer I missed seeing a few species of birds that I had observed in previous years. The melodious Northern Mockingbirds were missing as were the lovely Goldfinches. I’m happy to have filmed a juvenile Mockingbird in late August and I’ve heard Goldfinches many times in the past week – although they still evade my camera lens.

Here is the juvenile Mockingbird I filmed on 8/21/22 along with an adult that landed in a tree just behind it, at about the same time. Even though I didn’t see any Mockingbirds during the summer, apparently at least one pair was successful at rearing at least one chick. Let’s hope that’s just a sample of the population that merely avoided my detection.

The natural ebb and flow of species populations is a common phenomenon. For example, last year I couldn’t go out without seeing at least a handful of cotton-tail rabbits when I was out and about our farm. This year, I hardly spotted any of the cuties. But, here’s one picture I secured.

Although I saw less of some species, throughout the summer I heard and spotted many more Blue Grosbeaks than I had ever observed.

For a couple of years I have tried to get a good picture of a male Blue Grosbeak. Capturing an image of the less vibrantly colored female seemed out of the realm of possibility. What I have learned is that a pair of Blue Grosbeaks often maintain constant communication with each other. First one then the other bird announces it’s position with a single chirp. Unfortunately, that position is often in the tall weeds where they feed on seeds and well hidden from my view.

As summer was winding down, I began seeing male Blue Grosbeaks taking position at the tops of trees where they would sing their entire vocalization. It made it easy to locate them, but the distance to the top of the tree usually resulted in a less than optimal photo. Eventually, my patience paid off. Here are some images of male Blue Grosbeaks that I was fortunate to capture. I am guessing that there were no less than four pairs spread across our property, and these are not all the same bird.

The photos start off with a bird I filmed just before it rained, shooting directly west at late afternoon. I was happy with them, even though they are not high quality, because they were my first somewhat decent images of a male. In the few days after I shot those, I was fortunate to have the sun in my favor. And I captured the remaining photos.

Still, even just getting a visual on a female seemed impossible. But, a couple of days ago I spotted one as she moved through some trees near where she and other Grosbeaks were noshing on seeds in the tall grassy weeds. She’s very pretty.

I was very excited to also capture images of three different juvenile male Blue Grosbeak, one which had just taken a bath down at the pond. The first image, of the juvenile peering out behind the leaves, is of a bird that has developed quite a bit of his final blue coloring. The second bird has just a hint of blue feathers coming in. And, the last juvenile male arrived wet, but based on the amount of blue he dons, I think he’s a third individual. That’s exciting!

These lovely birds will be flying south for the winter and I will have to wait until Spring to see them again. I hope they fair well on their migration, have a splendid off-season in their tropical home of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, and a safe flight back in 2023!

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