Black-headed Grosbeak



With a few exceptions, I tend to lump all the little birds together, especially in the spring. The constant flittering that seems to begin with the house finches courting on the railing, the rosy chests of crooning males that seem to intensify in the process, followed by a period of squabbling with neighbors while claiming space along the beam with a steady rain of dry materials from construction and deconstruction overhead. With space enough for half-a-dozen households, it’s entertaining, but messy.

My sister, who was visiting from the Bay Area, was impressed with all the avian activity when Robbin and I both noticed a bird we hadn’t seen before, bigger than a finch, but smaller than the clan of blackbirds, who’ve taken residence in two coastal redwoods, strutting across the lawn between unabashed breedings. To add more birds for our entertainment, Robbin filled the bird feeders for the first time in months that drew the stranger in, along with a pair of Bullock Orioles. Even noting the distinguished details of the stranger with binoculars, I couldn’t identify it online or within the several bird books on hand.

So taking a page out of my wildflower identification experience, I photographed it last evening on the feeder. Only in the photograph did I really see its ‘large’ beak, then went online this morning: I think it’s a Black-headed Grosbeak!


Black-headed Grosbeak



2 responses to “Black-headed Grosbeak

  1. I am a bird nerd and get so excited when I see a feathered critter I’ve never seen before so I understand your excitement. I’m not at all organized about my bird-watching. It’s all happenstance. For example, last weekend we were out for a long walk and saw an Eastern Bluebird for the first time. You’d think we’d won a lottery we were so thrilled.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lenore Brashear

    Looks like you have a female at the feeder. The male is probably lurking somewhere nearby. According to the pictures the male has a brighter breast and a solid black head while the females are more dowdy and have that white stripe on their head, sort of like a sparrow.
    Love the birdwatching but I haven’t seen one of these. My birdbook says they migrate to Mexico so these are back from their vacation.
    Wish I could go South for the winter. I am truly tired of the rain and it is going again today. We aren’t supposed to get dryer weather until the end of the week.

    Liked by 1 person

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