Archive for July, 2023

Blue Grosbeak

Friday, July 21st, 2023

On a hot and very humid summer morning – after a night of thunderstorms with strong wind and heavy rain – the streets of our neighborhood were littered with broken branches, twigs, leaves and pieces of leaves, and all sorts of debris. No trees were lost, at least. But some large limbs had broken from pecan trees. Cicadas were singing loudly.

Near the top of a large oak in a small wooded area just outside our subdivision, a Blue Grosbeak sang its rich, warbled song. I’ve been too busy for several days to pass this way and hear him, though he has continued to sing here all this summer so far, despite the fact that a large part of this area has now been developed into an office park and a new county building and a lot of road construction to create a roundabout. Now, only a small part of what used to be a sprawling old field remains – but that small area of weedy trees and dense thickets seems to have been enough for the Blue Grosbeak to stay.

He sounded pretty close, so I stopped and searched for him high up in the oak, and when he flew down to a branch not far away from me, it felt as if he had come down to say hello. He sat near the end of the branch and sang again. 

I hadn’t brought binoculars this morning, so I could not see his colors or any details. But I could see his shape, with the head held high and the very large beak, and also the jaunty switching and spreading of his long tail – so familiar! Then another bird with a similar shape flew down to the middle of the road not far away and sat there very briefly. I think it was probably a female Blue Grosbeak. She flew from the road up into a tangle of tall grasses and shrubs around the oak, and clung for a moment to the tall stem of a weed, with something in her beak. 

I walked on, not wanting to disturb them further. Traffic on the nearby highway was very loud, and it seemed a small miracle that these magnificent Blue Grosbeaks were here, in this small remnant of trees and weeds and thickets that still remains on the edge of the office park and highway.