Spring Arrival of The Black-Headed Grosbeak


Very exciting day!

The spring arrival of the black-headed grosbeak.

Like the rufous hummingbirds, I wait for them with anticipation wondering will they will show up this year.

Normally they are very skittish and if you move by a window in the house or open the door they disappear.

They don’t just disappear, I can see them watching in the shadows of the branches and although I sit quietly waiting on the porch they never come back until I’m gone.

Most of the rest of my flocks of birds just ignore me when I’m outside but not the black-headed grosbeak.

That was until last year.

The grosbeaks nested here last year and there was one offspring and he turned out quite tame.

Tame meaning he didn’t disappear if I came out the door.

I would find him in the blueberry bushes, in the honeysuckle bush and under the feeders.

As I watched in the shadows he almost lost his life when a sharp-shinned hawk swooped in to grab him.

Missing, the hawk turned and came back for another grab but this little grosbeak had the luck of the Irish.

I don’t even think he really knew what was going on as it all happened so quickly.

But he managed to duck under some bushes and that spared his life.

After a couple of weeks of hanging out, he was joined by 2 adults.

Not sure if they were his parents or not but I’m thinking they probably were as it was a male and female and they kept together as a family group.

They must have just been watching him from the sidelines not wanting to show themselves.

By the end of the summer, I could walk in and out of the house without disturbing them and they seemed quite comfortable in my presence.

As always, fall came and they moseyed on back to their winter home somewhere in Mexico.

I’m hoping that the one that arrived at my feeders today is one of the ones from last year and maybe, possibly there is still that element of trust.

Time will tell!

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  1. My Black Headed Grosbeaks just arrived and I also was watching and hoping that they would return, three pairs so far and they usually stay for the summer unlike the Evening Grosbeaks that would just empty my feeders then leave.

    However,I didn’t see any Evening Grosbeaks last year but a small group came by for a feed yesterday at my daughters and then moved on


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