Saturday, September 22, 2012

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

If you want to see a lot of birds, now is the time to go looking.  Any trail, stream or path is likely to present you with a new bird, now that the fall migration is on.

Birds that don’t usually live here are passing through on their way south. Also noticeable are the large flocks of Common Grackles and European Starlings.  Smaller and more colorful birds are arriving daily too. 

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is one of those.  I saw this one along the Ozaukee Interurban Bike Trail feasting on buckthorn berries…food for the trip.  He is a first year male, just getting his signature rose-colored breast. 

This female Rose-breasted Grosbeak was in one of the ravines of Milwaukee’s Lake Park.  I’ve been to Lake Park many times, but rarely descended into the ravines to explore them.  There are many ravines and well-worn paths to take you down.  It’s surprising how quiet it becomes thirty feet below street level.  There is evidence of bird-life all around you.  That is where I found this Rose-breasted Grosbeak, up-close and personal.

This male Rose-breasted Grosbeak was defending his territory in the Horicon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge last June.  He was quite vocal and challenged me at the time, but he, too, was only twenty feet off the trail. 

Binoculars bring the birds in closer and they raise your enjoyment factor considerably.  It’s also a way of being in a beautiful place with a purpose.