How many of you have seen Evening Grosbeaks away from the vicinity of a bird feeder? On a BBS they are usually tallied as they give their distinctive song flying high overhead. Today, I was fortunate to have 2 perch directly overhead - an adult was feeding a recent fledgling. I heard its typical call and thought it to be softer than what one normally hears. I looked up and there they were. They remained perched in the aspen about 25' over my head for a minute before the young bird flew off followed by its parent.
During the WBBA they were confirmed as breeders across the 2 northern tiers of counties, with the most southern record coming from Menominee Co. The earliest that a fledged young was observed during the Atlas project was June 12. BBS data indicate that the grosbeak breeding population is increasing across MI, MN, and WI. In WI it has been detected on more than a fifth of the state's BBS routes. But what about grosbeak populations in WI during winter?
The Christmas Bird Count is another long-term bird population monitoring program that is particularly suited to following trends of species that demonstrate population irruptions as demonstrated by many of our winter finches as well as for those species that breed in remote regions but that winter in areas that are more accessible. Please check out this site and note that the figure toward the end of the discussion shows that our winter numbers of grosbeaks are down significantly over the past couple of decades.