Birding in my backyard (with the rose-breasted grosbeaks for company)

I look outside and sitting there in the pine tree in glorious colour is the male. In the maple tree is the female.  I have been waiting for the rose-breasted grosbeaks to return. For the past four years they have arrived by the end of the month of April.

The adult male in breeding plumage has a black head, wings, back and tail, and a bright rose-red patch on its breast; the wings have two white patches and rose-red linings. Its underside and rump are white.  Adult male birds are 7-7.5 inches (18-19 centimetres) long and weigh 1.6-1.7 ounces (45-47 grams).  Did you know that rose-breasted grosbeaks sings day and night, even while incubating on the nest?

Let me tell you about what makes a good day for me. It is sitting in the backyard in the warm sun with my coffee, camera, binoculars, and book!

Finally we have had some good weather and my the backyard was alive with loads of sounds.  The birdfeeder has  cardinals, goldfinches, house finches, brown headed cowbirds, downy woodpeckers, sparrows, red winged blackbirds, and spring migrants like the rose-breasted grosbeaks, baltimore orioles,  purple finches all feasting on black oil seeds and suet. My son Erik built me some bird houses and one has already been occupied by a pair of house sparrows.
The grass is getting green and the hummingbirds have arrived.  Enjoy your backyard or visit one of your local parks or Ashbridges Bay where you can wander through the trees, look out on the water, walk the boardwalk and enjoy the sounds of spring.

I would like to thank my birding friends who help me with my stories every month.  Carol Paar and Carol Lapointe, many many thanks.

A resident of the Beach has sent this poem.  Remember to send me your stories about the wildlife in your area. Email:

Leaving Winter Behind!
Chilled to the bone for three months or more
Thank God, spring is finally knocking at the Door
Robbie Burns has been Celebrated with Kilt, Haggis & Sporran
Wiarton Willy, Groundhog Day, St. Brigid’s Day are all forlorn
The Ides of March, St. Patrick’s Day all march on
Snow & Ice are weeping & seeping away
Birds are stirring, crocuses are peeping
Maple Syrup is singing,
Daylight is winning, night is retreating
Farewell to winter, Hip,Hip, Hooray!
by Lou Manning

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