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Bird of the Week: Evening Grosbeak

Okanogan Country | 08/23/2019 | Flora & Fauna, Methow Valley, The Great Outdoors, Wildlife Viewing

"Lately, I've begun hearing the strung-together, jumbled, high and sweet call notes of the Evening Grosbeak. Many of us see these big, colorful, and raucous finches in winter at our seed feeders, but because the Methow and Okanogan valleys and the surrounding mountains have high elevation mature conifers like Ponderosa Pine and Engelmann spruce, we are lucky to be able to see these birds year-round though we are at the southern end of their breeding range. The name gros-beak is derived from the French word “gros” meaning “big." It was named the evening grosbeak because it was originally thought to sing mostly at dusk. Well, it doesn't really ever "sing," and it is loud and noisy all day long, but it does have a very big beak so that part is right! It's still summer, but these birds are done breeding and have just begun to flock-up. They are extremely social and generally not defensive or territorial so they get together in big flocks to descend on trees to eat everything from spruce budworm (good work birds!) and other insects, to fruit (watch your cherries!), to their winter favorite, sunflower seeds. " Mary Kiesau | Local Naturalist and Photographer


Fun Facts! 

Information from the Seattle Audubon Society

  • Evening Grosbeaks are medium-large songbirds with very thick, seed-cracking bills. 
  • Large seeds, especially ash, maple, and sunflower seeds from bird feeders, make up most of the Evening Grosbeak's diet.
  • Evening Grosbeaks are generally monogamous, the female lays 3-4 eggs, while the male brings her food on the nest. 
  • Some pairs raise two clutches in a single season. 


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