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Weird Grosbeak(?)


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I cannot identify this bird.  It looks like a juvenile male rosy grosbeak but they are not supposed to be where I am. 

I am in the mountains (8400 feet), pinon-juniper montane plant life, in southern Chaffee county Colorado, specifically Maysville outside of Salida.  This bird appeared this morning in a snow storm, congregated at the feeder but ate seeds that the stellar jays were dropping, not going to the feeder itself.  It was by itself.  It was quite tame, allowing me to get within 5 feet of it and stayed while I took at least a dozen pictures.  

It is smaller than the jays but larger than the juncos.  It did not make any noises while I was observing it.

Any ideas?  Thanks, Rose 

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10 minutes ago, RoseE said:

It looks like a juvenile male rosy grosbeak but they are not supposed to be where I am. 

I agree that it looks like a young male Rose-breasted Grosbeak. It's quite possible he is just migrating through, possibly after fighting severe weather that may have blown him off course.

Edited by lonestranger
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9 minutes ago, RoseE said:

That's what I thought it was but they are not supposed to be any where near me, like it is hundreds of miles out of his way.  He should be in his winter range and even summer and migration ranges are no where near me. 

It is 100% a Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Birds do occur outside of the regular limit of their range, especially migratory birds. It’s rare but it happens. Cool find!

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16 minutes ago, RoseE said:

rosy grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

10 minutes ago, RoseE said:

That's what I thought it was but they are not supposed to be any where near me

Birds routinely go to the wrong places, even in the wrong time. See the eBird distribution map of the species. Note that there are multiple records of Rose-breasted Grosbeak (RBGR) from such far-flung places as the UK, Iceland, Bermuda, and one on the Atlantic Ocean islands of Portugal. A RBGR in Chaffee County, CO, is not at all surprising, considering the history of occurrence of the species in the state (see this map, which is centered on Colorado; I hope). In fact, there are at least six previous records of RBGR from Chaffee County, although all of those were in May.

Control of migration is known to be genetic, at least in gross parameters. For much of history, ornithology has considered such birds as yours -- in the "wrong" place and/or in the "wrong" time" -- to be dead ends, birds with bad compasses or bad genes that will not reproduce and pass on those faulty aspects. However, we have learned much and now look at such individuals as pioneers. Granted, pioneers with little chance of reproductive success, but pioneers nonetheless. Such birds can enable a species to take advantage of new situations, new opportunities, thus not putting the species' continued existence into just one basket.

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39 minutes ago, RoseE said:

It looks like a juvenile male rosy grosbeak but they are not supposed to be where I am.

"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

Welcome to Whatbird!  While it is always good to take range into consideration, birds will show up outside their normal ranges.  It's almost like they don't read the guides and don't care where they're supposed to be.  If EVERYTHING about the bird leads you to an identification (especially great photos like these), and the range is the only thing keeping you from making the call, submit it to eBird and let the local reviewer make the call.

EDIT: sniped by Tony, and more eloquently.

 

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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