Attracting Rose-breasted Grosbeaks was easy in our home over in Ohio. This was on six and a half acres that was mostly wooded. They were our welcome visitors for the entire summer there and I just loved them! They would come in to our platform feeder and at our window feeder (photo left) that was right outside our dining room window. It was the perfect spot to watch them come in to feed and they were at the feeder constantly. In fact when we had our house up for sale and the buyers who ended up purchasing our house came through, there was the Rose-breasted Grosbeak feeding at the window. I think that it was one of the selling points because they really liked seeing that beautiful bird.
Here in Northern Kentucky it has been a little different. While we have attracted the Rose-breasted Grosbeak to our backyard feeder, it has only been as they were passing through heading up north. They only stick around for a few days and then they are gone. It has to be the habitat because we do not have as many trees as we used to and Grosbeaks like them for the caterpillars, beetles, ants, bees, and grubs that they like to eat. So how did we get them to our feeder? Read on……
About the Rose-breasted Grosbeak
This beautiful bird with its black and white plumage and a bright red patch on its breast will definitely catch anyone’s watchful eye. I just described the male but the female looks a little different as you can see in the photo at right. She has brown and white coloring and is sometimes mistaken for a female purple finch as they look pretty similar.
Both the male and female Grosbeak have thick bills and are about seven inches tall.
The Rose-breasted Grosbeak can be found in the north eastern and mid western United States and also Southeastern and Central Canada. They arrive in late spring and stay throughout the summer months. We generally saw them around the first of May.
They winter in Central and South America.
You will find this Grosbeak in open woodlands and forest edges that are close to ponds, marshes, streams, or pastures. They eat insects as I mentioned earlier, berries, and seeds. We had a creek running at the edge of our property in Ohio and it was fairly close to our house which I think helped in keeping the Grosbeaks around all summer long.
The female Grosbeak builds most of the nest which is made up of loosely made leaves, sticks, weeds, and other earth materials. She will lay up to four pale greenish blue eggs that have brownish spots on them. Both parents incubate the eggs which takes up to two weeks. Both parents also feed the new nestlings who leave the nest about twelve days after they hatch.
Interesting Fact: Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are one of the few birds who sing while sitting on the nest.
How To Attract Rose- breasted Grosbeaks
Hopper style bird feeders or platform feeders are usually the best type for Grosbeaks to be able to perch on. I had both of these types but as I mentioned earlier, I also had a platform type window feeder which was great for seeing this bird up close and personal. However, I have also seen these birds at other types of feeders too so you never know.
Make sure to have high quality black oil sunflower seed, safflower seeds, peanuts, or dried fruit out for them. A good supreme mix which has all of these was what we used to attract ours in. You will find that this type of mix attracts a lot of great species of birds in to your feeders.
In addition to having quality seed out for your Grosbeaks, always make sure that you have a good water source for them to be able to bathe and clean their feathers and to drink. Shelter is also important as birds need a place to retreat to in bad weather such as shrubs or trees. This is a must for all birds if you want to keep them coming back to your yard and feeders.
You will definitely enjoy seeing Rose-breasted Grosbeaks coming in to your backyard feeders. Their beautiful black and white coloring with their bright red breast is such an eye-catcher that you won’t want them to leave. It was always one of my favorite summer residents that I looked forward to arriving every season.
You can attract them to your yard by having black oil sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, peanuts, or a good supreme mix that has it all. They prefer hopper and platform feeders but have been seen at other types of feeders too. You just never know.
Are you lucky enough to get the Rose-breasted Grosbeak to your backyard feeders? I hope so! Please let me know your own experience with these birds. I would love to hear from you. Make your comments below. Thank you!
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Love the red birds as I call them as I’ve seen other birds like this around even in Florida as I used to live in Ohio but now I do look forward to the times when I do so it is there and remember growing up my grandmother having one of those in your backyard and watching the birds fly by I am sure one of these probably did thank you for the beautiful illustrated pictures take care
Thanks for your reply! Yes, it is always lovely to watch the beautiful birds especially in your yard. I’m sure you are talking about cardinals when you say red birds and they are very pretty.
I live in south Dakota , and we have had them for a week , got all the food the like but today it seems they have gone . its may and I thought they would stay for the summer !!!
Carol, they may have just been migrating through and stopped off to refuel. I had them for about a week too but it appears that they have moved on at my place as I haven’t seen them in a day or so. They really like areas with an open woods close by. I do not have that type of habitat around me so just getting them to stop by is a treat. You never know though, they may be back. Keep an eye out and let me know. Thanks for your post!
I was luckily enough to have this beauty visit yesterday with his partner. I must say, he didnt disappoint. I havent seen them today, so maybe it was a stop over. I hope they stay around, they loved the Safflower seeds and the male is stunning.
Rhonda, yes they are so stunning to see. Hopefully they will come back and you will get to enjoy them longer. I haven’t been as lucky so far this spring but not giving up hope. Keep me posted! Thanks for your comments!
We have a male visiting today I
In central Alabama. Hope he stays
A while. Never seen one.
Rhonda, they seem to be abundant this year. I have no problem with that at all :-). Such a beautiful bird! Thanks for your comment.
I live in Columbia, Mo My 1st pair stopped by today I hope they come back
Delene, lucky you! They are so pretty to see aren’t they? Hopefully they will keep coming back for you. Good luck!
saw my first one ever today, may 1st 2020 did not know what it was, got a few pics, he stayed around off and on most of the day. we have a nice 2 acre patch of woods behind the house, hope he stays for the summer. we are in the south eastern part of pa. close to gettysburg
Good for you Denny! The fact that you are near some woods may keep them around. Keep feeding them. They are so much fun to have around.
Oh my gosh! I’ve had my first male ever this year! He is beautiful and get excited everytime I see him at the feeder. It only seems to be the one male. I live in Louisville KY so maybe he’s just stopping through??
Christel, good for you! I love this bird and am excited to say that I’ve had two males and a female at my feeder these last two days. I’m hoping they stick around to nest but they do like woods nearby and we don’t really have that. Usually, they move on. So it really depends on the habitat around you. I hope this answers your question. Good luck!
Just saw one at my bird feeder this morning. I live in Cincinnati. First one I remember seeing. Beautiful bird. Wish I had had taken out the screen in my window as I had planned or I would have a photo to share.
John, you should take that screen out because it may come back as mine did. I didn’t see them for a day then there they were in the tree in front of me. Good luck and enjoy!
Hi!! Found your page searching for info on the beautiful bird that has been visiting me the past several days. I have seen two males at the same time. I actually heard him and his song made me look for him on a tree branch above my deck. I’m in Crescent Springs with a back yard full of trees and a creek about 50 yards from my house. I have several bird feeders in my yard and we have birds on them all day. PI’m a little disappointment they seem to be just passing through but can always hope! Thanks for the info!
Michelle, you never know when they might decide to nest. You sound like you have a prime location for that. You just never know. Thanks for your comments. Good Luck!
A male topped at my house this afternoon. Moved from the feeder to the tree beside my deck several times. I saw one two years ago but he didn’t stay long and I don’t think I saw one last year. So happy he came back and I hope he doesn’t leave too soon but I know he didn’t stay long last year. I have quite a few orioles which are also beautiful, so this was a treat to see this one at the same time the orioles were out. Such a magnificent bird.
Marge, I know, they are so beautiful. Hopefully, it will stick around.