I enjoyed multiple visits from a pair of Evening Grosbeaks today. Here they are sharing the tray feeder with a Chipping Sparrow.
Like the finches they are, they were flocking with the American Goldfinches and Purple Finches. I saw four of them - 2 males and 2 females - but only 2 visited the feeder at any one time.
These are big, beautiful birds. To look at them through the scope or binoculars was a real treat on what turned into a dreary foggy day. I never noticed before that their large, seed-crushing bill is a very pale green. You discover all kinds of things when you really take time to observe!
Their call is a sharp chirp. Click on the play arrow on the controller below to listen to their loud, clear call coming through. I recorded this earlier today.
We hear stories in the store from folks who tell of the huge flocks of Evening Grosbeaks that used to be in the area. Hundreds of these birds would descend into a yard - what a sight that must have been! Here is an excerpt from "Birds of New York" by Elon Howard Eaton, published in 1914.
"This interesting species, which is related to the Hawfinch of Europe, is a bird of striking appearance, especially the full plumaged males, whose conspicuous coloration of bright yellow, olive, black and white, and their enormously heavy beaks, immediately attract the attention of the most casual observer. The sight of a mountain ash tree full of Evening grosbeaks, feeding on the brilliant red berries is an event long to be remembered."
(My thanks go out to Bruce Blackie who recently dropped off this interesting volume at the store for us to use as we see fit.)
When Evening Grosbeaks visit, I'll usually see them for a day or two - then they're off. In New York, they breed in the coniferous forests of the Adirondacks.
Read more about Evening Grosbeaks on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's online guide to the birds.