Gary Garton recently shared this great photo with the Star Journal. He wrote, “When we think about a lady of the evening, we usually have other thoughts in mind than of a bird. But here we have the perfect avian example of a lady of the evening…grosbeak.
“Female winter grosbeaks are often passed over by photographers for their much more colorful male counterparts. However, the female of the evening grosbeak family is, in her own right, a very colorful bird, as evidenced by this photograph I took near Crescent Lake recently. I truly feel that we should give credit where credit is due to this very attractive bird, which we can only hope will increase in numbers in the years ahead. Since their population peak in the early 1970’s, when huge flocks of evening grosbeaks would invade our feeders and clean us out of sunflower seeds within minutes, the birds have been on the decline and are relatively uncommon today. Whether climate change or the increase in logging of the Canadian forests is to blame for the decline, no one seems to know for sure.”
Gary continued, “An interesting fact concerning the grosbeaks is that our summer grosbeak (rose-breasted), which we commonly see each summer, is a close relative of the cardinal, whereas our winter grosbeak (evening) is a close relative of the finch family of birds. One indisputable difference between the species is their songs. The evening grosbeak has a very raucous call which tends to irritate the senses, whereas the rose-breasted grosbeak has a very melodious song much like that of the robin.”