Pine Grosbeaks

Grosbeak, pine

Pine Grosbeak

Yesterday morning, I heard the warbly calls of the Pine Grosbeak. They are a harbinger of winter! At the time, there was an advancing cold front moving into the upper Midwest and there was snow in the forecast. Average arrival date for the Pine Grosbeak is: Oct 19 to Nov 10th.

They are one bird that migrates south to winter in northern Minnesota. Pine Grosbeaks breed in Canada and spend most of their time in those northern climes. In the winter months, they regularly wander south to northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan. During years of bad seed crops they may “irrupt” and wander as far south as southern Minnesota and Iowa.

Pine Grosbeaks are beautiful birds! When the dark dreary days of the coldest season intrude on our lives, the Pine Grosbeak is there to brighten it up. The bright red of the male bird makes a nice addition to a usually white background. The female is a beautiful bronze or russet color.


Female Pine Grosbeaks


The Pine Grosbeak is in the Finch family and they are the largest Finch in that family – they are primarily seed eaters and readily come to feeders filled with sunflower seeds.

Pinicola enucleator  is the scientific name. Let’s break that name down and see what it means.

The genus name Pinicola is from Latin pinus, “pine”, and colere, “to dwell”

The second part of the name (the species name) is also Latin: enucleator, “one who ‘shells out,’” from the bird’s way of husking the pine seeds.


The Pine Grosbeak can seem quite tame at times and they don’t take flight immediately that makes them a fun bird to watch.

Pine Grosbeaks are circumpolar, which means they occur throughout the far northern hemisphere including Siberia, Finland, Sweden, Norway and other northern countries.

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2 Responses to Pine Grosbeaks

  1. Phil says:

    thanks very kindly for your postings and your invested time in your blog

    very appreciated

    hope to learn more about warblers on the Vermilion Gorge Trail next summer,
    if you still offer a guided tour

    Lake Vermilion resident…

  2. Vacation says:

    Yes, I do still offer the guided walks on the Vermilion Gorge Trail. Next summer we will be walking on Tuesday mornings at 7 am. Meet me at Voyagaire Lodge.

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