Even if you aren’t a birder, you’ve gotta love the name of this bird, with my carefully, correctly stating the name: Rose-breasted Grosbeak.
I’m especially fond of the male Rose-breasted Grosbeak because he has become my iconic reminder to laugh at myself. If I didn’t have the ability to readily laugh at myself, I’d find myself awfully hard to live with. (Including my fondness for grammar dangles)
I’ll laugh with others; I’ll laugh at myself.
As the title of this blog advertises, I have a terrible genetic tendency to confuse words. I get stuck on a word or phrase and it pops out of my mouth instead of the correct word or phrase.
The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is THE icon for this befuddling trait. If I sight a Grosbeak in the presence of other birders, I’ll quietly exclaim: “Rose-breasted Becard!” And of course the serious birders look at me as if I’m an idiot and politely say “Don’t you mean Rose-breasted Grosbeak?”
My immediate reaction is quiet laughter over the joke that only I know: These last few winters I’ve fixated on spotting a Rose-throated Becard in the RGV, a bird that looks NOTHING like a Grosbeak. So when I start vocalizing the word “Rose” for a bird sighting, I muddle it all up and out pops: “Rose-breasted Becard!” (And no, I still have not sighted my longed for Rose-throated Becard)
This embarrassing character-trait shared itself last week while birding Boy Scout Woods at High Island. While sitting on the “bleachers” and listening to other birders call out migrant sightings in the drip area, I noted several Rose-breasted Ones dropping into the Mulberry trees, just over head. And before I could stop myself, I quietly called out: “Rose-breasted Becard overhead!”
The looks, smirks and polite corrections echoed all about me. (Thank goodness I didn’t scream about the snake some hour before!) And thank goodness my reaction was to apologize with a quiet, but distinctly audible set of the giggles; my spontaneous giggles probably added to their labeling of me and my hat.
But mostly I’m fond of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak because like me, these feathered ones have a serious sweet tooth. And like me, they tend to want to stuff their face (bill) in privacy.
My sweet-tooth stuffing is most frequently enjoyed in the privacy of my couch-potatoed TV mode. As for Grosbeaks, they have quite the knack for utilizing Mulberry leaves to hide their fruit-focused stuffing.
Some might say that I have an eating disorder and they have a robust hunger after a long flight. I prefer to think that we both share a natural gift, manifested as a solitary hobby. Regardless, the Grosbeak's talent for leaf-hiding-while-fruit-stuffing makes for a difficult photo opportunity.
Most of my Rose-breasted Grosbeak photos look something like this:
Or when in full-out fruit-plucking mode, like this:
And when lucky, I’ll get an almost full shot, complete with a fruit-dripping bill that needs a dinner napkin:
And every once in a while a bit of sun dapples its way onto a beautiful Rose-breasted Grosbeak, while taking a fruit-filled (Oops—I mean fruitful) rest: