The male Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a bird famous for bursting with black, white, and rose-red-colored plumage, the vibrant rose it wears on its chest, and its rich, whistled song.
Its beautiful enchanting song has been described as sounding like a robin with opera training.
Nothing Gross About These Grosbeaks
These medium-sized songbirds have very large triangular bills, and the male’s distinctive red breast earn them the name “cut-throat” for their coloration.
Seeing this beauty is like having an exclamation point at your bird feeder or in your binoculars.
Talk about a mood enhancer. Seeing and hearing a Rose-breasted Grosbeak lifts your spirits and makes you smile.
Attracting Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
So what’s the trick for attracting Rose-breasted Grosbeaks to your feeder?
This large, seed-eating grosbeak in the cardinal family is primarily a foliage gleaner. They forage mostly in shrubs and trees, searching for food. Sometimes they hover to take insects from foliage or bark or fly out to catch them mid-air. An aerial act so elegantly performed by Cedar Waxwings, Eastern wood Pewees, Eastern Phoebes, Eastern Kingbirds, and many other flycatchers.
Rose-breasted Grosbeaks breed in eastern forests, so you can find them among deciduous trees and conifers. You’ll find them along forest edges and in parks. If you have woods that back up to your house, you might already have them.
During migration, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks frequent fruiting trees to help fuel their flights to Central and South America.
Foods They Like
A great way to attract these beautiful songbirds to your yard is to offer black oil sunflower or sunflower chips in a platform, hopper, or large tube feeder. Our backyard Rose-breasted Grosbeaks love the sunflower chips from Wild Birds Unlimited and the Tractor Supply Store. Either brand keeps our backyard flock happy.
If you want to ensure the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and their soon-to-be families get a healthy start, offer a habitat filled with native plants that attract a steady diet of insects. The adults feast on seeds and berries but primarily feed their young insects to provide the extra protein needed for growth.
Berry-producing Trees and Shrubs
Consider adding berry-producing trees and shrubs to your yard, like blueberries, mulberries or magnolia, crabapple, and dogwood trees. You will attract Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and create a habitat for other songbirds that love fruit, like Baltimore Orioles, Scarlet Tanagers, Cedar Waxwings, Thrashers, Thrushes, Grosbeaks, Bluebirds, and woodpeckers.
Our front yard has pear trees, which attract songbird stopovers. But, unfortunately, our pears rarely become fruit because the squirrels feast on the buds in the spring.
These long-distance migrants stay with us through the summer until early October. We’re privileged to watch them couple, nest, and raise their young until leaving us for their long winter migration to Central America and northern South America.
Until they head south for the winter, we enjoy a summer filled with the sights and sounds of these beautiful songbirds.
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