A friend who lives in northeast Minneapolis reports a Rose-breasted Grosbeak picking at seeds beneath her feeder. This is a summer bird that one would think well on its way to warmer climes. Robert Janssen's 1987 book "Birds of Minnesota" mentions last-seen dates as late as Dec. 17 in the southern half of the state, however. There also are late December and January records of grobeaks attempting to over-winter. His records data he collected for the '87 book show two birds successful in over-wintering. Of course, those records pre-date 1987, making them at least 30 years old. Things are so different now. Perhaps this bird should be of little surprise. Janssen is working hard to finish an update of that book. I suspect it will draw a much different picture of bird arrival and departure dates, and early and late records. The photo is of a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, but not the one recently seen.

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News from the world of birds, November