I’ve had some surprise visitors in my back yard this spring – a flock of cedar waxwings and then a pair of male Indigo Buntings. Sue Overton in Waynesboro one-upped me with a pair of Blue Grosbeaks that hung around her yard for a couple days. Blue Grosbeak sightings are usually few and far between.
I have had Rose Breasted Grosbeaks pay my yard a visit on occasion, but never their blue cousins.
Blue grosbeaks are about the size of a bluebird. The males are blue overall with the exception of two rust colored wing bars. They have a fairly large silvery bill with black around the base.
In some areas, these stunning birds are common summer residents, arriving in Virginia in mid-April then splitting in October. They like semi-open ranges, such as cutovers, edges, fencerows and overgrown fields. They eat both insects and seeds and will come to a feeder.
Like the buntings, the Blue Grosbeaks will have two broods per year with anywhere between 3 to 6 eggs per nest.
The female has no blue whatsoever, but is mostly brown with darker wings and tail, and two tan wing bars.
Sue said that her birder friends in Waynesboro said she was very lucky to have Blue Grosbeaks stop by and pay a visit. For those of us who enjoy watching birds, a special guest like a Blue Grosbeak is a welcome treat.