Evening Grosbeaks
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20” x 16”, acrylic, 1980
The ringing, melodious 'chirp' of the evening grosbeak brings a smile to the legions of people who feed birds in winter. A chorus of chirps announces the arrival of the most glorious band of visitors at the feeding station. It also brings joy to the hearts of the producers and suppliers of sunflower seeds. Suddenly a tree is filled with plump, yellow, black and white birds. In a moment, the feeding trays are mobbed by the colourful, squabbling crew.

'Grosbeak' is an apt name. The huge bills snap and crack the seeds with a sense of urgency. They clean up a large quantity in a short time and then they are gone as suddenly as they came. This ornithological treat is available only in winter, and only occasional winters in some areas. Summer breeding season finds the birds scattered in pairs throughout the wilder coniferous forests of North America.

I placed this evening grosbeak threesome in a white birch tree, which, in the early winter, still has a few of its seed tassels. It is one of those cool, moist days before the first snowfall, but warmth is brought to us by these boisterous birds with their sunset colours.