May 11, 2007

10-Bird Meme: No. 9, Evening Grosbeak

Evening grosbeak
Black-headed grosbeaks are regular migrators. Evening grosbeaks are pirates--in the humorous Jimmy Buffet sense.

When they show up in the spring--if they do--they are the nearest thing we have in appearance to tropical birds. I see those big spring-green beaks and vivid colors, and I find myself wanting to mix a fruity rum-based drink.

And the little raspy calls, which are quietly raucous!

Ornithologist Jeff Groth writes, "Cardueline finches [which includes evening grosbeaks] are well known for their strong tendency to roam. Most species do not have regular migration patterns and cycles; their patterns of movement and their numbers vary greatly from year to year."

And so when they do arrive, winter or spring, it's a matter of saying, "Look, evening grosbeaks!"

Historical note: Canon City's one-and-only "fern bar" of the 1980s was called The Evening Grosbeak.

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