For the past several weeks, rose-breasted grosbeaks have been migrating back to their breeding grounds. Whenever some of these birds stop and refuel in our backyards it is a real treat.
The male rose-breasted grosbeak is particularly striking. Indeed, the black and white male, adorned with a bright red chevron on its breast, is among the most striking birds that visit our feeders.
If you have been fortunate enough to host rose-breasted grosbeaks, you know that its food of choice is sunflower seeds. In fact, more often than not it is the only offering it will eat.
However, when you take a look at the overall diet of the rose-breasted grosbeak you quickly realize this long distant migrant eats much more than sunflower seeds. In fact, the principal food on their menu is invertebrates; these animals comprise 52% of its diet. Rose-breasted grosbeaks favor beetles above all other invertebrate, however they also dine on everything from ants to butterflies and moths.
Other foods gobbled up by rose-breasted grosbeaks include; wild fruits such as blackberries, raspberries, and mulberries; they make up 19.3% of the food they consume. Other food items important to the birds include wild seeds (15.7%), cultivated fruits and plants (6.5%) including corn and peas), as well as tree buds and flowers (6.5%).
These revelations once again prove that we only catch brief glimpses of the private lives of many of the wildlife that inhabit our backyards.
Every year when they come through, they will eat more safflower than sunflower. It could be that they like the feeders it is in, mostly chalet type. Truly beautiful. Also I saw indigos more this spring. Usually I only see them one day. A treat to be sure.
This year our grosbeaks dined on suet and meal worm cakes as well as lots of black oil sunflower seeds. We saw 4 grosbeaks at one time.
We get several pairs of Rose breasted Grosbeaks every year. This year they are enjoying the grape jelly & oranges at the Oriole feeder, as well as the mixed bird seed in the other feeder.