Friday’s Feathered Friends-Pine Grosbeak

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Last week I went birding with the Audubon Group and we were treated to a sighting that not only was a new to me bird, but a rare bird to this area too. Lifer number 6 for 2021 is the Pine Grosbeak. This is a female.

This was a “lifer” for about half the group and there were only 9 of us birding that morning. It was quite exciting!

Fun Facts-gleaned from

  • Pine Grosbeaks eat a lot of plants, but it can be tough for their nestlings to eat and digest all that vegetation. Instead of feeding plants directly to their nestlings, they regurgitate a paste of insects and vegetable matter that they store in pouches at the lower part of their jaw on either side of their tongues.
  • Not all Pine Grosbeaks are the same. Not only do they differ in the amount and intensity of red across their range, they are also different sizes. Body size and wing and tail length generally increase from Newfoundland westward to the Yukon Territory. But birds on Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Island) in British Columbia, Canada, and in California are among the smallest of all Pine Grosbeaks. Wings and tails of birds on Haida Gwaii are around a half inch smaller than birds in Alaska.
  • Pine Grosbeaks aren’t just in North America. They also breed in subalpine evergreen forests from eastern Asia to Scandinavia.
  • The tameness and slow-moving behavior of the Pine Grosbeak prompted locals in Newfoundland to affectionately call it a “mope.”
  • Winter flocks may stay near a tree with abundant fruit until all of it is consumed.
  • The oldest recorded Pine Grosbeak was a male, and at least 9 years, 9 months old when he was found in Quebec in 1970. He was first captured and banded in Connecticut in 1961.

I hope you all have a wonderful week-end!

Fuji X-T3| Fuji 100-400mm| PS CC 22.4.2

more to come…

35 thoughts on “Friday’s Feathered Friends-Pine Grosbeak

      1. Thank you Deborah. Maybe one day there will be a story book for children with all my critters. In the meantime I will have fun participating in World Watercolor Month.

  1. Congratulations on your Pine Grosbeak lifer Deborah. It is great you can go out with a birding group and discover new birds. We have missed that due to extended lock-downs and border closures. Thanks also for the interesting facts about the bird.

    1. I’m so thankful we’re doing well here and can do things like this again!
      I’m hoping to get to your side of the world when it opens up for birding there one summer soon! Your summer. 😀

  2. Oh, wow, Deborah…how precious and exquisite. Most of your photos are a “lifer” to me although realistically only online. It seems like many birds are big on ‘regurgitating’.😀 You have inspired me to be more aware of all birds when I am in nature. Have a great weekend! 💕

  3. Oh how VERY lucky for you and your Audubon Group to come upon this pine grosbeak, Deborah. Their range is mostly in Canada, which is where I always assumed I would have to go to see one. I have never seen this species, and am so very glad you had this fortune and could even get a great photograph too. Judging by the range map at allaboutbirds, I see they are year-round in the CA Central Valley. What a surprise. I am guessing that’s where you saw it. yay.

  4. You are on a roll this year with lifers! I love the subtle beauty of this bird, and I appreciate the information. At least we only have to cut our kids’ food for them.

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