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Pine Grossbeak

Pinicola enucleator


Robin sized bird bulky. Female has mustard colored head with grey body, males head and chest are rose colored. Both have white stripes on black wings and white crescent under eyes.


They usually stay year around in the far north of Canada but will occasionally come down to the Northern states in the US. Perhaps when the trees they depend upon fail to produce enough fruit or seeds. In the summers they live in coniferous woods and eat cone seeds, in the winter they move to hardwood groves with fruiting plants.


A flock of about 20 Pine Grossbeaks spent the winter of 2008 near our bird feeder. Perhaps it was a bad year for seeds and fruit in Canada? Cornell Lab of Ornithology has great descriptions of birds and even recordings of their song.

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ScottRasmussen 8 years ago

Oh yes, Barred Owls are pretty common around here, but that year they were everywhere. I went out with a friend one evening and we saw 12 during a single 3 mile walk. I never got any shots of the Great Gray, but I've had some nice photo encounters with my neighborhood barred owls. The one I hear occasionally that I'd love to get a look at is a Saw-whet Owl.

galewhale..Gale 8 years ago

You do normally have Barred Owls right, just a lot more than usual? Did you get pictures?

ScottRasmussen 8 years ago

I kept hearing tales of all sorts of far northern birds visiting people's feeders and was getting kind of frustrated by not even getting a glimpse of them. By the time March rolled around I'd kind of given up. I was pleased and amazed when one day I walked down to the campus pond and saw several hot pink birds in the trees. Who knows when they'll get down this way again. We had an owl irruption a couple of years ago as well. Tons of barred owls showed up as well as a great gray owl. That was a sight to see!

galewhale..Gale 8 years ago

Thanks Scott... That is really fascinating! I am about 334 miles more or less North of you so it was quite an irruption. My last sighting that year was on April 3rd.

ScottRasmussen 8 years ago

I just came across this spotting. I remember that irruptive season as well. Here in western Mass. People were reporting seeing the grosbeaks, gray jays, boreal chickadees and other northern birds. I just posted a couple of pics from March 2008 here:

Spotted by

Maine, USA

Spotted on Jan 27, 2008
Submitted on Mar 15, 2011

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