Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus), for The Institute for Bird Populations.

In 2014, several Yosemite grosbeaks were captured and fitted with tiny GPS loggers which would track them as they migrated south and wintered in Central America. Although several were re-sighted in 2015, only one could be recaptured, and the GPS points logged as this bird traveled were recovered and plotted on a map. Read more about where he went over fall and winter 2014-2015 here!

Blue Grosbeak (Passerina caerulea)

The Blue Grosbeak isn’t properly a grosbeak but a bunting, in the same genus as Indigo, Lazuli and Painted, though all of them are in the same taxonomic Family as our (North America’s) Black-headed and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.

It breeds in brushy areas and roadside thickets, often in similar habitat to the similar-looking but smaller Indigo Bunting. Primarily an insectivore in the summer and a granivore (seed-eater) in cooler seasons, it forages on the ground or in low vegetation. It is one of a few species that will sometimes incorporate snakeskin into the nest construction, which is thought to possibly deter predators.

Blue Grosbeaks have expanded their range north from historical limits, possibly as a response to forest clearing by settlers, and the regrowth of abandoned farm fields in recent decades.

photograph of male by Dan Pancamo Photography on Flickr

(via: Peterson Field Guides)