The Black-headed Grosbeak is a handsome bird with a lovely melodious song that I never tire of listening to. In spring these birds return from their wintering grounds in Central America to nest in the western half of North America. Their strong bill helps them to crack thick seeds and crush hard-bodied beetles and snails. They also dine on monarch butterflies, whose toxins make them poisonous and inedible to most other bird species.

I began watching this pair of Grosbeak in May as they built their nest in a healthy stand of aspen trees near a gurgling creek. In early June their chicks hatched and they were busy foraging in the nearby forest for insects to feed their four ravenous nestlings. The video below shows both mom and pop feeding the 4 hungry chicks.


Learn more about this species on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website.