A Blue Grosbeak Pair

The highlight of the morning walk was a pair of Blue Grosbeaks in a tangled area of privet, kudzu and other shrubs and trees across the road from the old field. I had already passed this area and was headed home when I heard the Grosbeak sing – a rising and falling cascade of colorful notes. So I walked back down toward where it was singing, just hoping – and found two Grosbeaks very low in a small scrubby sweet gum tree entangled in a climbing kudzu vine and its leaves. The Grosbeaks were making short, flashy flights from branch to branch, chasing each other, flaring wings and tails.

Behind the sweet gum tree, rose a large thicket of privet, and behind that, several pines. As I approached, both birds settled down on separate branches of the tree, both quite low, and the male began to sing again.

The male was a deep shimmering blue, with rusty-orange wing bars and a big silver beak rimmed in black. Simply gorgeous. He sat on the edge of a branch, in the open, but no more than five feet from the ground, far from the top of the tree, and surrounded in shadowy leaves.

A couple of feet lower than him, and over to one side, sat the female, more screened by leaves from me than the male. I could not see her well, except to see that she looked pale tawny brown.

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