Grosbeak Pause


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The spring afternoon was quiet, yet, if you listened closely it wasn’t very quiet at all. There were the distant chirps and calls of various birds, some loud, some soft, some close and some far away still. There was the occasional buzzing of a hummingbird whizzing by searching for flowers and a tasty treat. There was rustling nearby as someone foraged in the grasses. And, of course, there was the rustling of wings as the grosbeak settled in on a branch to inspect its surroundings.

This is a male black-headed grosbeak, photographed in the mountains of Tijeras, New Mexico. Grosbeaks are bright, inquisitive birds, not to mention quite colorful. Their bright orange contrasts very nicely with their black and white wings, making a striking combination.

The back-headed grosbeak has quite the range, and is found throughout the great plans and all points west, including southern Canada and almost all of Mexico. They sing readily, and their song, sweet and mellow, can be heard throughout the day. The grosbeak is always a pleasure to watch and listen to.

The bird looked around one more time, then took to the wing. I had a feeling it would be back soon.

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