Birding…Rose-breasted Grosbeak

When it comes to “birding”, once again Morse Park delivers. My personal commendation goes out to the Parks & Recreation Town Staff and the efforts of the Lake Lure Parks & Recreation Board for creating an inviting habitat for our bird friends….And, for us to see them!

While many different species of birds can be seen in Morse Park during much of the year, May and October are some of my favorite times there because the chances increase of seeing migrating bird species that we do not normally otherwise get to see in Lake Lure. This beautiful breeding adult male Rose-breasted Grosbeak, that I photographed in Morse Park, is an example.

While the Rose-breasted Grosbeak can be a summer resident in the western most mountains of western North Carolina, generally speaking, from April through October this bird can be found mainly in Canada, in the northeast and north central parts of the US, and in the higher elevations of the mountains as far south as northern Georgia. The male and female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks I saw in Morse Park this Spring were undoubtedly taking a break from their migration from Central or South America where this species spends the winter months.

Rose breasted Grosbeak

The male Rose-breasted Grosbeak is black and white, with a large triangular patch of rose-red on the breast, white rump, white wing bars, and rose-red wing linings (slightly visible in the photo) that show in flight. The female Rose-breasted Grosbeak looks quite different from the male. She has underparts that are heavily streaked, like a large Sparrow or female Purple Finch, but she is recognizable by her large Grosbeak bill, broad white wing-bars, and conspicuous white line over the eye.

The Grosbeak’s song resembles that of a Robin’s (variable cheerily cheer-up cheerio), but it’s a mellower version. The note is a sharp metallic kick, or eek. So, as you walk the paths of Morse Park through the wetlands, take the stroll easy and listen for the songs and sounds of our flying friends.

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