Monday, April 28, 2014

A Plague of Grosbeaks!‏

During the last week of April in SW, FL, we have been undergoing an "invasion" of sorts.  There have been more rose-breasted grosbeaks seen than during living memory.  What is happening?  

These are migrating grosbeaks flying north from South and Central America to their breeding grounds in high elevation and northern latitudes sites in eastern and central N America.  They breed above 3000 feet near our VA farm but we rarely see them in any numbers.  

Why are we seeing so many this year?  It appears that they starting flying from Yucatan with tickets to land in TX, LA, MS, and  AL, but were likely blown off course to the east and landed in FL instead.  Bad luck for them and good fortune for us who can now enjoy their extraordinary beauty.  These birds are hungry and thirsty so if you provide fresh drinking water (especially a drip bath), and food either as fruit (mulberries and strangler figs are best) or sunflower seeds, you will have the opportunity to appreciate them for several days before they resume their journey.

We wish them well and look forward to seeing and hearing them up north when they are singing their wonderful territorial breeding song.  The song is generally described as being similar to the song of a robin who has taken voice lessons.

Bill Dunson

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