Last month’s blog post talked about the arrival this winter of Evening Grosbeaks. Another grosbeak, the Pine Grosbeak, is also showing up, which is exciting, because these large, beautiful finches rarely come this far south. If I recall, the only time I’ve ever seen Pine Grosbeaks was in the Hudson Bay Lowlands during the breeding season about 10 years ago.
Pine Grosbeaks are beautiful. They’re larger than other finches with males a raspberry red and females yellowish over a greyish undertone. Both sexes have white streaks in their wings and, as their name suggests, thick bills. Pine Grosbeaks are notoriously tame, which makes them easy to photograph. Make sure your platform or hopper feeder is well-stocked with black sunflower seed (hulled or not) and keep your camera handy!
Another species that doesn’t come as far south as Peterborough every winter but is starting to make an appearance is the Bohemian Waxwing. These sleek birds look very similar to their congeners, Cedar Waxwings, but are larger, slightly darker, and have yellow, white, and red on their wings (versus red only in Cedar Waxwings). Bohemians also have a distinct rust-coloured “vent” (basically the area under their tails). Both waxwing species have a high-pitched, cricket-like song, but Bohemians’ is lower-pitched, and both species hang out in and feed in groups that often contain both species, so keep your eyes and ears open.
Pine Grosbeak – Whalen Fine Art – Shawn Whalen
Bohemian Waxwing – Francis Cirtwill