Documentation of Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Observer Information

Reporter:  Steve Linderer   
Other Observers:  Margaret Linderer; Margaret saw the bird first, followed by Steve. Both saw it several times.

Species, Date, Time and Location Information

Species:  Rose-breasted Grosbeak
First Date/Time:  5/16/2009
Last Date/Time: 
Duration (total time in view):  Three sightings over 30 minutes
County:  Custer
Specific Location:  2177 County Road 260, Westcliffe, CO 81252
Brush Hollow Road 2.2 miles off of SH96.
Lat. N38 degrees 10.6 minutes
Lon. W105 degrees 21.3 minutes

Number:  1
Age:  Unknown
Sex:  Male
Plumage:  Other/Unknown


Feeding on a platform bird feeder located on a deck railing 14' above the ground. Bird also observed flying away from the feeder several times into nearby Ponderosa Pine/Pinyon Pine forest.

Viewing Conditions

Optics:  None
Distance:  15' measured by tape measure
Light:  Partly cloudy, but bird was in full overhead sun. Light conditions were excellent.

Description of the Bird

A little smaller than a robin. Large black head with thick white beak. Black wings with white patches. Pink underwing. Very similar to Black-headed Grosbeak on feeder at same time, except this bird had bright white breast with a striking rose patch. White markings in flight. White rump.
Behaviors: Eating sunflower seeds at a feeder. Somewhat harassed by Black-headed Grosbeaks on feeder at the same time.
Call: Not observed
Plumage: Adult breeding

Similar Species Discussion

Black-headed Grosbeaks were at the feeder at the same time. Similar head and wings but with an orange body and darker bill.

Resources Used

Both observers identified the bird immediately by sight but checked the bird in The Sibley Guide to Birds.

Previous Experience

Both observers have frequently seen Black-headed and Evening Grosbeaks and occasionally Blue Grosbeaks. This was their first sighting of the Rose-breasted, which in its breeding plumage immediately stood out.


Notes made DURING observation

Additional Information

Comments: We are reporting this bird because we do not see it listed for Custer County.
Time: 1230 hrs
Elevation: 8300
Other Dates: First sighting by us of this bird at this location in last three years.
Nearest Town: Westcliffe
Independent Observers: Margaret saw the bird first, followed by Steve. Both saw it several times.

Materials Available

Photographer: Margaret Linderer

Photos |


Date Documentation Submitted

5/16/2009 1:22:00 PM
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