Life bird . . . what a delight!!

My husband and I turned down a familiar trail at Orlando Wetlands, when a dot of bright blue suddenly flashed through the tall marsh grass. I did a double-take – what WAS that??

I began thinking of all the blue birds I knew, as I struggled to get a clearer view. . . . Not a Blue Jay, not a Bluebird, not an Indigo Bunting (though that’s the first thought that popped into my head).

Its vibrant blue feathers, large bill, and especially its chestnut wing bars were distinct clues.

After much flitting about and perching briefly among the reeds, this wonderful bird paused long enough for me to see him out in the open. Could it be . . . ? Yes! . . a male Blue Grosbeak (Passerina caerulea) – a life bird for us!

This was the first time I’d ever seen a Blue Grosbeak (we saw two males and one female)! I didn’t even know they could be found in Florida. “They are widespread but not abundant across the southern U.S., and are expanding their range.” (All About Birds) They are short-distance migrants; those on the east coast fly across the Gulf of Mexico to reach their wintering grounds in Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean islands.

Despite its name, the Blue Grosbeak, a member of the Cardinalidae family, is more closely related to other passerines than to other species of Grosbeaks (American Bird Conservancy). Their diet consists primarily of insects, grains, seeds, fruits, and small invertebrates.

The Blue Grosbeak is often confused with the Indigo Bunting, but check out these two sites to view beautiful side-by-side images, comparing the two: All About Birds, and South Dakota Birds.

Listen HERE to its ‘rich, musical warble’.

As we left the park, I picked up a copy of the Orlando Wetlands Birding Checklist. The Blue Grosbeak was not listed in their actual 221-bird Checklist, but was included here👆🏼on the back page as one of the “Accidental Birds” who are not regularly seen there.

It may be that our Blue Grosbeaks were just passing through – I’m so delighted that we were there to see this lovely ‘wanderer’.☺️

37 thoughts on “Life bird . . . what a delight!!

  1. Oh fabulous! How wonderful that you got to see a new bird! And one as unusual and stunning as a Blue Grosbeak. I must admit, I’d never even heard of them, although the map you provided says they breed in eastern Colorado. I shall have to keep my eye out for them. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was such an unexpected treat and surprise to encounter the Blue Grosbeaks. Though we love Orlando Wetlands for all they always have to offer, this was certainly the first time we ever saw them.


  2. Woo-Hoo! New bird! That makes for a special day.

    We just never know what we’ll find when we head out into Nature’s back yard. And that particular part of her yard, what with a brand new boardwalk, is pretty neat any time!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Orlando Wetlands Follow-up | Central Florida Photo Ops

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