Blue Grosbeak Singing in a Chinaberry Tree

On a perfect May Day morning – sunny, with a deep-blue, cloudless sky, breezy and mild – a Blue Grosbeak sang from a branch just below the top of a chinaberry tree in bloom. The green leaves and pink flowers of the tree sheltered the singing bird and framed it in a very picturesque way. 

Because it was shaded by leaves, the brilliant, ink-blue color of the Blue Grosbeak looked more gray than blue, but the orange-brown bars in the wings and the big silver beak stood out clearly. Its eyes looked very black. It lifted its head and parted its beak again and again to sing a shining, flowery series of notes. Like the shaded color of the bird, the song sounded a little softened, gentled, maybe by the wind. 

Each spring I watch for the return of a Blue Grosbeak to the old field above the highway where I found it this morning. It’s almost always the song that lets me know it’s back. Blue Grosbeaks are considered to be widespread in southern North America, but are widely scattered and not easy to find. They nest in forest edges, shrubby places, and in old fields like this – overgrown with privet, honeysuckle, blackberries and other shrubs, vines and weeds, as well as a good many trees. 

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