Grosbeak Photography | New York

Grosbeak perch

I love nature. I enjoy nature in a wide variety of ways. One activity I really enjoy is watching birds. As someone whose always loved animals and been a science nerd simply observing bird behavior is endlessly fascinating and entertaining.

As a photographer, creating photography of birds is enjoyable and challenging. More so than any other animal birds have the ability to appear one second and be gone the next. That lends itself to the enjoyment, the challenge, and the satisfaction of photographing birds.

As a photographer that creates nature photography but does not specialize primarily in bird photography it can be quite difficult and frustrating to capture images of all the different types of birds I see let alone all of the different birds I would like to photograph but have not even seen in person.

Be Aware of Your Environment

One species of bird that is a gorgeous bird that I have seen in person but rarely gotten a chance to photograph is the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak. Males have a majestic contrast of black on top and white on the bottom of their bodies and they have a bright diamond shapes red burst on their chests. Females are not as colorful of a bird but they are impressive in their size alone as they look like a giant sparrow which makes them pretty distinct in my book.

I have created photography for the last 20 years and have had about 4 photography encounters with these birds in that time before this year. I have only captured a few hundred images of these grosbeaks over the years. And of those few hundred images I would only consider a half dozen of them to be good photographs.

Red-Breasted Grosbeaks are considered common in our region during breeding season but I seldom have ever seen them. That is until this year. This year in this breeding season I have seen Red-Breasted Grosbeaks more frequently than I ever have before. And all of these sightings are happening right at my own home. I have been a backyard bird feeder and bird watcher for my entire adult life and never before have I been fortunate enough to regularly attract Red-Breasted Grosbeaks.

Rose_Breasted Grosbeak perched on a tree branch in Upstate, NY.

Take Advantage of Opportunity

This year they have been regular visitors. And for about a week straight I have probably seen them every day. Finally I had a convergence of good weather, time available, and Grosbeaks being present where I could photograph the birds. I was able to get outside and watch the birds on two separate occasions for an hour at a time during the course of one day. Both times the weather was nice and the birds cooperated.

I was very surprised at how bold the birds were. I was afraid that I would have to be careful not to scare them away as I emerged from the house to our deck to watch them and begin photographing them, but they did not really care too much about my presence. The grosbeaks stayed nearby in our oak tree. I was able to create quite a few nice photographs of the birds as they moved around our yard. Eventually the Rose-Breasted Grosebekas even came to the nearby bird feeder to eat some seeds while I was out on the deck with them. The feeder the bird chose to came to was maybe about 12 feet away from me.

I was quite surprised by this encounter. Smaller faster birds like chickadees and goldfinches will usually approach that feeder with a human present but not normally larger birds. Fortunately I was able to take advantage of the situation and create some nice images. I don’t always strive for images that are as close up photos of the bird as possible but it is hard not to enjoy a nice close up photograph of a bird.

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak eating sunflower seeds at bird feeder in Upstate, New York.

I could have stayed out there on the deck and watched the birds all day, but I had other matters to attend to. Specifically running my leg of our Solo But Not Alone virtual relay with my friends. So on both occasions I left my bird watching to pursue one of my other joys, running.

If you want to see more of theses photos I added a few more photographs of the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak to my Song Bird Gallery.

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I wrote about one of my first encounters with the abundance of Red-Breasted Grosbeaks this year on this post: NEW YORK | BIRDING | PHOTOGRAPHY

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