Look who has joined the backyard dining table, the Evening Grosbeak! Many customers have told us that they are thrilled to see the addition of this Grosbeak feeding at their sunflower feeders. I only had the pleasure of observing this beautiful bird at a family cottage in Muskoka over 30 years ago, so this is a real treat for me.
Evening Grosbeaks are part of the finch family. Unlike our Goldfinches, the male won’t lose his brilliant yellow colors in the winter. Their body size is comparable to a Robins, however they have very short necks and tails which makes their overall size about the same as a cardinal.
Adult males have brown and yellow bodies sporting a distinguished yellow stripe over the eyes, black wings with a prominent white patch, and a short black tail. Females and immatures are mostly gray with black and white wings and pale yellow shading on their neck and flank. Both male and females have strong pale conical bills.
Evening Grosbeaks are known to travel in large nomadic flocks so you are more likely to see groups of them rather than individual sightings. They can be quite noisy with their most notable call similar to that of a House Sparrow, but amplified. A warbling song is also in its repertoire but not heard as often.
Evening Grosbeaks are likely to be attracted to a large hopper or open tray feeder filled with black oil sunflower seeds. During the winter they will also feed on berries and small fruits. If you have a feeder like this, you may be one of the lucky ones to add the Evening Grosbeak to your list of birds who visit in the winter.
Happy Winter Birding!
By Jane Paradis