Black-headed Grosbeaks Arrive

by Larry Jordan on April 24, 2011

Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus) photos by Larry Jordan

A few days ago I heard the unmistakable sound of the Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus) calling from my back porch.  They have a rich, fluid, melodious song that for many is the harbinger of spring (click on photos for full sized images).

The female above was accompanied by, what appeared to be three adult males.  They seem to like the all weather feeder for some reason.  I think it is ergonomically correct for their size.

Today was the first time I had seen American Goldfinches (Carduelis tristis) at the thistle feeder this spring.  A few joined the multitude of Lesser Goldfinches and Pine Siskins that have been here all winter.

I took a short break from all the yard work Brigitte and I were doing all day to take some shots of the other yardbirds that are here year round.

The Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura) are almost constantly cooo, coo cooing this time of year.

And of course the Acorn Woodpeckers (Melanerpes formicivorus) are always amusing with their call that sounds like an insane person laughing.

This male was selecting his favorite treats from the ultimate woodpecker feeder.

Another clown of the yard is the ubiquitous Western Scrub-jay (Aphelocoma californica).  Being members of the Corvidae family, these guys are no dummies.

Doesn’t this bird look inquisitive?  No, he’s not curious, he’s looking up at the upside down suet feeder that is made specifically for clinging birds.

You see, he loves suet and this jay bird has figured out how to feed out of this feeder without hanging upside down.

He simply flies up and takes bites out of the suet in mid flight.

And he is good at it too!  If you want to see some good bird photography, head on over to Bird Photography Weekly and post your own great bird photos!

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

texwisgirl April 25, 2011 at 5:15 am

all of those are great images! The grosbeaks are beautiful! and that lovely dove… but that scrub jay takes the cake (as do your shots of him aflutter.)


The Zen Birdfeeder April 25, 2011 at 12:29 pm

I’ve always wanted to see the Acorn Woodpecker but even more now that I know they sound “like an insane person laughing”!!


Dawn Fine April 25, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Nice photos! Love the Jays in motion!


Rebecca April 25, 2011 at 7:50 pm

GREAT photos! I love the Jay’s acrobatics!


Hilke Breder April 29, 2011 at 10:59 am

Nice set of images! Smart Blue Jay – just wonder whether it’s worth all the effort.


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