While at the family cabin in Lakeshore, Minn., over Thanksgiving we had some new feathered visitors: Pine Grosbeaks!
In the six winters I've been at the cabin, we've not had them in the yard, let alone lined up on the railing enjoying oilers:
They're regular visitors up at "The Shack," but it's exciting to see them this far south. The flock was all first-year birds or females, nor red males in the dozen or so birds. This one could be a male on his way to his second year molt when he'll develop his bright red feathers (note the coloring developing on its chest):
This is most likely an adult female:
The Pine Grosbeaks are just a tad larger than the Evening Grosbeaks, making them the largest of the winter finches. And, like other winter finches, they're irruptive meaning that there are years when the head south in mass numbers and this is one of those years. I'm hoping we'll have them at our Afton home, outside the Twin Cities, this winter, too!
For lovely shots of the colorful male Pine Grosbeak, check out Scott's recent blog post.