May 15, 2014 | Featured Web Article

Rose-breasted Grosbeak, a Welcome Backyard Visitor

A medium-sized songbird with a large, seed-crushing bill, the rose-breasted grosbeak spends the breeding season in deciduous woods across the northern portions of North America. It winters in the Neotropics.

If you live in eastern North America, now is a great time to be watching for rose-breasted grosbeaks in your backyard. These colorful, cardinal-sized songbirds pass through backyards across the southeastern United States en route to their breeding grounds farther north. They spend the winters in the Neotropics and fly across the Gulf of Mexico each spring to breed.

If you live in the northern portions of North America, you may be lucky enough to host rose-breasted grosbeaks throughout the summer. These birds prefer mature deciduous forests for breeding. Learn to recognize the male's warbling, robin-like song »

Here is a video of a few rose-breasted grosbeaks chowing down at a feeding station in southern West Virginia in early May 2014. Grosbeaks eat black-oil and striped sunflower seeds at feeders.

Two male (center and far right) and one female (far left) rose-breasted grosbeaks at a backyard bird feeder in West Virginia.

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  • I am excited to have my daughter’s tree this year, since my landlord has removed the lovely yew next to my patio, which was the only shelter for birds at my feeder.
    by pmalcpoet, Mon, 20 Dec 2021
  • Goldfinches will continue as long as Swiss chard is available. I'm watching one eating chard right now (mid-November in Vermont).
    by Brian Tremback, Sun, 14 Nov 2021
  • Birds are on the decline though sunflowers are rarely touched and for weeks hardly .eaten. I'll try a few sparing nuts on the table and a fat ball broken for jackdaws and tits but mealworms were a summer favourite being my go to choice
    by Paul Harabaras, Thu, 04 Nov 2021
  • I’ve been enjoying goldfinches eating coneflower/ echinacea seeds in my new pollinator garden! I will leave the plants out all winter for them if the seeds keep that long? Or should I deadhead and put them in a dry area? Im in CT and thought they migrated, but didn’t know they put in winter coats! What do they eat in winter without bird feeders?
    by Anne Sheffield, Sat, 04 Sep 2021
  • Hi Gary, I will pass your question along to Birdsquatch next time I see him. He knows infinitely more about nocturnal wildlife than I do. Where do you live? That's pretty important in figuring out the answer. But the thief could be raccoons, deer, or flying squirrels. Do you live in the woods? Are there trees near your feeder, or must the culprit climb a shepherd's hook or pole? Dawn Hewitt, Watching Backyard Birds
    by Dawn Hewitt, Mon, 30 Aug 2021