Bird of the Week

Photo courtesy Dottie George

This week’s Bird of the Week, compliments of the Weminuche Audubon Society and Audubon Rockies, is the evening grosbeak.
The best-dressed members of the finch world, evening grosbeaks do not disappoint with their clean-cut tuxedo of black, white and gold. Their heavy beak is an elegant pearly white color.
The males are striking with their luxurious golden capes, chests and brow bands. The stark white patch on their back is obvious against the black lower body and tail. Evening grosbeaks do not use songs to attract mates; it seems their stunning plumage says enough.
The female and immature birds are a soft gray with black and white mottled wings and tails. There is a blush of yellow at the nape of the neck.
The thick beak of these finches is for cracking large seeds, but also works for capturing insects and picking berries.
Evening grosbeaks are seen regularly, but inconsistently enough in Pagosa Springs that a sighting is still a fine treat. These grosbeaks visit the
feeders of local bird enthusiasts and ransack the stands of choke cherry bushes as soon as the berries are ripe.
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