Hi all:

I read with interest David Simpson's posting about the differences in
the Black-headed and Rose-breasted grosbeaks being seen at Turkey Creek
Sanctuary.  On Oct. 8, 2000, I saw a grosbeak across the ravine from my
backyard (in Tallahassee) eating berries at the Devil's
walking-stick, along with thrushes and Tenn. warblers.

At first when I saw the head pop up, my thought was "female
Rose-breasted grosbeak".  Then I caught a glimpse of some color on the
chest and revised my i.d. to an imm. male RBG. I never got a look at
the entire front of the bird, as it kept moving about in the foliage. But
I was puzzled by the "caramel" color all along the flank and on the back
(rump area). The bird would turn upside down to get a berry, and I could
see this color on the back.  My view was from my second story open deck;
the berries were a bit below eye level, though across the ravine.
The mystery bird looked a lot like the "1st fall male" Black-headed
Grosbeak in the National Geographic guide. I could not determine
if my bird had any streaking, as I couldn't see the breast.  I mostly
saw the side and back.

Dean & Sally Jue and Jim Cavanagh came over to look for the bird, but
by then it had disappeared.  I did not see it again. Since then
I have tried to mentally compare it to other RBGs that I see and
none have come close to that color. This fall I had an imm. male RBG
at the feeders for about 10 days, as well as a female eating berries.
Neither had any hint of this buffy color.

My question is: does a Rose-breasted ever show that buff/orange/caramel
coloring all along the flanks and on the rump area?  If anyone
has any photos of the Black-headed grosbeak(s) currently being
seen, please post them to FLBirds.


Fran C. Rutkovsky
Tallahassee, FL
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