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Pine Grosbeak
Used with permission. Robert McDonald
Thanks to Robert for allowing us to use this picture.

Pine Grosbeak

(Genus, species:  Pinicola enucleator)

Pine grosbeaks are the largest of the northern finches.  They seem quite tame and do not immediately take flight when startled which can make them a fun bird to search for while bird watching.

They are especially beautiful in the winter time when the bright red coloring of the males is nicely offset by the white snow.  They also gather together in large flocks which again, make them fun to watch.


Winter Locations
Winter Locations of the Pine Grosbeak
Thanks to the U.  S. Geological Survey for this image
General:  Pine Grosbeaks can be found in Canada and the Northern States of the U.S.  Year round.  Unlike most birds, they are most commonly seen during the winter months when their bright foliage stands out well in the tops of pine and spruce trees.  

They can also be found in the northern forests of Europe and Russia.


Male Pine Grosbeak
Used with permission. Robert McDonald
Thanks to Robert for allowing us to use this picture.

Description - male:  The pine grosbeak is a stocky bird about the size of an American Robin  (8-10" (20-25 cm)).  The male has a red head, underparts and back with black wings with white bars and a black slightly forked tail.  The bill, legs and feet are also a dark color.


Female Pine Grosbeak
Used with permission. Robert McDonald
Thanks to Robert for allowing us to use this picture.

Description - female:  Female pine grosbeaks are not as bright as the males.  They have no red coloring.  Their bodies are grey and their heads and necks are an orange or rust color.  The wings and tail are dark brown with white wing bars. 


Description - young:  immature grosbeaks have similar coloring to females.  Males become pinkish as they mature growing into their ruby red coloring over time.

Pine Grosbeak
Source:  Wikimedia Commons, photographer Mdf 

Feeding:  Grosbeaks feed on buds, fruits, berries and seeds.  They mainly forage in the trees, though they will sometimes pick fallen seeds and berries from the ground.  During the summer, about 15% of their diet is made up of insects.  They also visit bird feeders during the winter.


Pine Grosbeak
Used with permission. Robert McDonald
Thanks to Robert for allowing us to use this picture.

Habitat: coniferous forests (spruce, pine, fir) and the forested edges of open fields, meadows, ponds, streams and marshes.

Nesting:  Nests are built in a conifer tree or tall shrub.  The nest is made of twigs, moss, grass, lichens and fur and is a bulky cup shape.  

The female typically typically lays a clutch of 2-5 (typically 4) pale blue-green blotched eggs each year and spends 13 to 15 days incubating the eggs.

 

Worksheets and Other Activities:


[Birds of Alberta]  [Canada Geese]  [Great Horned Owl]  [Merlin]  [Northern Goshawk]  [Pine Grosbeak]  [Rock Dove]  [Ruffed Grouse]  [Sharp-tailed Grouse]  [Steller's Jay]  [Wild Turkey]  [Willow Ptarmigan]

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