Mar 23 2012

Uh Oh!

Published by at 6:30 am under Migration,Phenology,Schenley Park,Trees

Welcome to Day 11 of June-in-March.  The heat feels nice, huh?  What could go wrong?

Yesterday I found red oaks starting to bloom in Schenley Park a month ahead of schedule (photo above).  This should be happy but something is missing.  The rose-breasted grosbeaks aren’t here to eat them.

Long ago I learned from Chuck Tague that rose-breasted grosbeaks move north as the oaks bloom, perfectly timing their arrival to coincide with their favorite migration food — oak flowers.

But right now the grosbeaks are in Central and South America, waiting to fly across the Gulf of Mexico to arrive in Pennsylvania in late April or early May.  They don’t know our oaks are blooming.  The flowers will be gone.

What will the rose-breasted grosbeaks do when they get here?

Uh oh!


(photo of oak flowers by Kate St. John. Photo of rose-breasted grosbeak by Chuck Tague)

10 responses so far

10 Responses to “Uh Oh!”

  1. Coleenon 23 Mar 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Hi Kate – I was out at lunch and just saw what I believe was a red-tailed hawk soaring pretty low over St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Mellon Insitute on 5th. He/she had a beak full of twigs. What will this mean for the falcons? Can they coexist in the same territory?

  2. Kate St. Johnon 23 Mar 2012 at 1:52 pm

    I’ve seen this too & have some cool photos from Peter Bell for the blog tomorrow … with some answers.

  3. Steve-oon 23 Mar 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Will grosbeaks eat from feeders? Maybe a movement to get backyard feeders in everyone’s yards needs to get started to offset the crazy weather.

    But look at the bright side, if a Republican wins the election, then we’ll have nothing to worry about because global warming doesn’t happen in their world. ; )

  4. Anne Marieon 24 Mar 2012 at 7:12 am

    Oh Steve.. love your comment!

    Seriously Kate, what will the grosbeaks do? do they eat anything else?

  5. Kate St. Johnon 24 Mar 2012 at 7:14 am

    They do eat from bird feeders. This effect will reward the grosbeaks who stay near people.

  6. Donnaon 25 Mar 2012 at 10:34 am

    I always get at least one pair, sometimes two, at my feeders in Murrysville. They are gorgeous!

  7. Tammy Deemeron 27 Mar 2012 at 12:27 pm

    This is just what I have been saying and people look at me like I’m crazy. What could be wrong–indeed. I’m not ready for a world as new and brave as this!

  8. Kate St. Johnon 31 Mar 2012 at 6:47 am

    Here’s a great blog on the connection between birds and spring leaf-out.
    This early spring may be bad news for the trees more than for the birds… We’ll find out soon.

  9. Rachaelon 01 May 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Hi Kate!
    I just saw a male rose breasted grosbeak, for the first time, on a feeder in my back yard…(Franklin County, OH). I didn’t know what it was and looked it up as it ate from the feeder. So exciting!

  10. Kate St. Johnon 01 May 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Very cool sighting! They are really beautiful birds.

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