Mon

10

Mar

2014

Life on Distant Hill Blog ... Evening Grosbeak

A Beak of Another Color

A Male Evening Grosbeak with beak in breeding color.
A Male Evening Grosbeak with beak in breeding color.

It’s hard to predict where in the western and northeastern US Evening Grosbeaks (Coccothraustes vespertinus) will show up in any given winter to feed. Knowing that, we are lucky to have a small flock of Evening Grosbeaks visiting our bird-feeder this winter here in New Hampshire.

 

These beautiful birds are fairly large and often travel in sizable flocks. Because of their size they prefer platform feeders to tube feeders. They eat sunflower seeds but are also attracted to the seeds, berries, and buds of trees and shrubs, especially maples, in the gardens and forests of Distant Hill. 

 

A Big Green-beaked Bird - a Male Evening Grosbeak.
A Big Green-beaked Bird - a Male Evening Grosbeak.

In summer Evening Grosbeaks fly north to breed in spruce-fir, pine-oak, pinyon-juniper, and aspen forests of northern North America and the mountains of the West.

 

 

Both male and female Evening Grosbeaks display an interesting physical change from winter to summer — not in the color of their plumage but in the color of their rather large beak. It turns a pale, pearly green color during breeding season from a bone-white color in winter. The beak of the bird in the photos is beginning to change to breeding color.