Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Yesterday was an odd morning at the Dundas banding site.  First, despite this being late May, when I should be encountering late migrants, I only caught this Rose-breasted Grosbeak and two Gray Catbirds.  Second, these three birds were all already banded by me during previous years (this year is my third at this location).  Finally, all three were banded on 19th of May but each on a different year--the grosbeak in 2009, one catbird in 2008, and the other catbird this year (just a few days ago)!

When I see Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, I am reminded of my favorite artist, Louis Agassiz Fuertes.  His later paintings are stunning (from the 1920s), although my favorite is a study of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak from his senior thesis in 1897.  I have not found this image on the net, although it can be found in A Celebration of Birds by Robert McCracken Peck published in 1982. The following links to Wikipedia and Cornell both contain other examples of his work. Fuertes, in his mid-50s, was killed at a railroad crossing in 1927.  Undoubtedly his best work was yet to come. There are times when we birders should keep our attention away from birds!

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