Can’t get enough of those Grosbeaks

Pine Grosbeak, female

Pine Grosbeak, female

Pretty soon they’ll be heading back up north.

Pine Grosbeak

Pine Grosbeak

This photo shows some feathers that look like they might cover her nostrils. I suppose that would help when temperatures drop below zero.

Pine Grosbeak, 1st winter male

Pine Grosbeak, 1st winter male

At this time of the year, the young males are molting into their adult plumage. You can see the bright red feathers as they mix in with the bronze feathers of his juvenile plumage.

Pine Grosbeak, young male

Pine Grosbeak, young male

 I always try to get some shots of this stage in a Pine Grosbeaks life, but it is a small window of time. It seems like the adult males leave first, maybe to hurry back to their breeding grounds for the best territory. For a week or so only the females will be at the feeders, then it seems on March 15th they don’t come in to the feeders anymore. They might still be migrating through, but they pretty much stay up in the trees after the 15th. Then by April they’ve all left.

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

The Goldfinches too, are molting, but here the males are molting into their alternate, or breeding plumage. The bright yellow is starting to show up under this bird’s chin. The females molt too and grow new feathers every year, but they keep their dull plumage all year.

Goldfinch, molting

Goldfinch, molting

The black feathers that make up the male’s black cap are filling in on this bird’s head.
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