I always enjoy watching wild birds come to my backyard feeders. Regal cardinals, petite black-capped chickadees and tiny chipping sparrows are just some of the many birds that come to eat sunflower seeds, millet and safflower.
Today, Anne shouts to me, excitedly, “What kind of bird is that? It’s beautiful!” I dart across the living room to see a rose-breasted grosbeak eating sunflower seeds. This robin sized bird has striking rose red bib on a white breast, a dark black head and body with white stripes on its wings. Its strong triangular beak is well adapted to cracking open the sunflower shells exposing the nutritious seed inside.
This is the first time I have seen this species in Florida. These grosbeaks winter in northern South America and migrate north, some of them through the Florida peninsula, each spring until they reach forests of northern U.S. and Canada where they breed.
Initially, I thought I should get up early the next morning to capture more photographs of this beautiful bird, but I was resigned to knowing that this bird will be gone by the evening when it continues its journey northward. (Most migrants travel by night and rest by day.) I hope that other grosbeaks stop at my backyard feeder during the spring migration.