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 Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Status in Michigan
Common Transient summer resident

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Use the links below to view the Rose-breasted Grosbeak reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Spring 2005
View Rose-breasted Grosbeak sightings.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Archives Reports
Fall 2003 120
Spring 2003 243
Winter 02-03 1
Fall 2002 32
Summer 2002 26
Spring 2002 297
Winter 01-02 0
Fall 2001 48
Summer 2001 38
Spring 2001 117
Winter 00-01 0
Fall 2000 57
Summer 2000 33
Spring 2000 116
Winter 00-99 0
Fall 1999 22
Spring/Summer 1999 27

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text
The Birds of Michigan - by: Norman A. Wood
Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75

Pheucticus ludovicianus (Linnaeus)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Summer resident, fairly common.

First listed for Michigan by Sager (1839: 414): "Coccoborus ludovinus."

SPRING.-In southern counties the species sometimes arrives during the last few days of April, but more commonly in the first week or 10 days of May.

Lower Peninsula.-The species has been recorded at Detroit (Swales, 1904: 37; and notes; U.M.M.Z.) ; in the Ann Arbor region (U.M.M.Z.); about Battle Creek (Walkinshaw, 1941: 126; and notes) ; in Kalamazoo County (Gibbs, 1885: 87; U.M.M.Z.) ; and in Berrien County (N. A. Wood, 1922: 23; U.M.M.Z.). Twelve males, apparently exhausted from migrating, were observed together in the first part of May, 1891, at Jackson (Tinker, 1908o; 217). In the 1930's R. E. Olsen, A. D. Tinker, Hinshaw, and others frequently noted as many as 20 Grosbeaks in a day scattered through the woods of a Hartland Township swamp in Livingston County; on May 19, 1935, and May 16, 1937, they saw as many as 30. This grosbeak was re- corded at Grand Rapids on May 8, 2023 (Gibbs, 1902: 10); in Montcalm �County on May 9 and 16, 1883 (U.M.M.Z.) ; at the Prairie Farm, Alicia, Saginaw County, after May 9 (1940-G. A. Ammann); and on Beaver Is- land, Charlevoix County, after May 13 (1929-N. A. Wood and James H. Wood; May 14 specimen in U.M.M.Z.).

Upper Peninsula.-At McMillan, Luce County (Bryens, 1939: 102; and notes), and at Blaney, Schoolcraft County (Christofferson), the species has ordinarily appeared in the middle of May. At Blaney, Christofferson banded a female on May 8, 1938; listed 10 individuals at the same place on May 22, 1938, and 15 on May 23, 1937. The species was found in the Huron Mountains, Marquette County (S. S. Gregory, Jr., 1929: 183), on May 24; at Copper Harbor, Keweenaw County (N. A. Wood, 1933: 727; U.M.M.Z.), on May 19, 1931; and on Isle Royale on May 28, 2023 (several specimens, U.M.M.Z., N. A. Wood).

SUMMER.-Nests and eggs of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak are found chiefly from mid-May to early June. Barrows (1912: 432-35), who believed the species was increasing in Michigan, indicated that nests were sometimes found as late as mid-July; Brotherton (1891: 141; 1892: 131-32) , who also believed it was increasing, found it common in Oakland and Macomb counties.

Lower Peninsula.-Swales (1904: 37; and notes) reported the species as an "abundant summer resident in favorable localities," about Detroit; on May 14, 1899, in Grosse Pointe and Gratiot townships, Wayne County, he found sets of 1, 3, 4, and 5 eggs, and also on other occasions discovered several nests in a day. J. B. Purdy (1892: 162) reported the Rose-breasted Grosbeak very rare at Plymouth, Wayne County, though quite abundant in adjacent Livonia Township. A few nests have been found about Ann Arbor (W. L. Maris, 1891: 106; other data). Gibbs (1885: 87) reported the species abundant in Kalamazoo County, but Rapp (1931: 25), giving egg records for May 18 to May 30, listed it as rare at Vicksburg, in the same county. N. A. "Wood and Gaige (1911: 293) recorded it only twice in northwestern Huron County during the summer of 1908. Mulliken (1892:152) found it quite common in Kent County. N. A. Wood and Frothing- ham (1905: 50-51) recorded this grosbeak as not uncommon in summer in Crawford and Oscoda counties; at Red Oak, western Oscoda County, R. E. Olsen, A. D. Tinker, and N. A. Wood saw 3 to 8 birds (U.M.M.Z.) a day on several days in 1934 between May 30 and June 24. The species has been listed as fairly common in Mason County (Chaney, 1910: 276), as rare on the mainland of Charlevoix County (Van Tyne, 1925: 623), and as not very common in the Douglas Lake area, Cheboygan County (N. A. Wood, Smith, and Gates, 1916: 16; Blanchard and Nelson, MS of 1937). In Leelanau County it was very common on the Manitou Islands in 1940 (U.M.M.Z.), though not seen at all on the Fox Islands in 1939, according to A. E. Staebler and L. D. Case. In June and July of 1937 T. D. Hinshaw and R. E. Morrill noted several grosbeaks on frequent trips to parts of Beaver Island, Charlevoix County, and collected specimens (U.M.M.Z.) there.

Upper Peninsula.-The Rose-breasted Grosbeak has been reported in summer from many localities: Munuscong Bay and Sault Ste Marie, Chippewa County (Christofferson and Magee) ; McMillan, Luce County (3 eggs on June 7, 1928, and young out of nests by July 27, 1941, and July 28, 1934-Bryens); Blaney, Schoolcraft County (June 12, 1935, parents ex- changing place on nest-Christofferson); Alger County (N. A. Wood, 1918: 11) ; Huron Mountains, Marquette County (rather common summer resident-Christy, 1925: 214; S. S. Gregory, Jr., 1929: 183); Dickinson County (a few seen regularly-Gaige, 1914: 86-87; U.M.M.Z.); Golden Lake, western Iron County (1938, 2 nests found, and 15 to 25 birds on each of several days in June and July by John L. George and R. L. Patterson); the Porcupine Mountains, Ontonagon County (several birds observed by N. A. Wood, Peet, and McCreary, 1906: 118; 2 well-grown immatures in U.M.M.Z.) ; and elsewhere in Ontonagon and Gogebic counties (Leonard Wing, 1940: 193; U.M.M.Z.).

FALL.-The main flight, for which there is relatively little information, seems to occur during the latter part of August and the first part of September in the Upper Peninsula, and in September in southern counties.

Upper Peninsula.-N. A. Wood collected a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) on Isle Royale, September 5, 1929. According to Bryens (1939: 102; and notes), this grosbeak usually leaves McMillan, Luce County, sometime in September.

Lower Peninsula.-Max M. Peet has a specimen that he took at Burt Lake, Cheboygan County, on September 6, 1936. J. B. Steere collected a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) at lonia, lonia County, on September 12, 1877. Gibbs ' (1885: 87) rarely noted grosbeaks after September in Kalamazoo County; and Walkinshaw (1939: 108; 1941: 126) found they left Battle Creek on the average by September 23. Flight from the Ann Arbor region has ordinarily occurred between the secondhand fourth weeks of September, though a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) was collected there as late as October 20 (1896). More or less the same dates were given by Swales (1904: 37; and notes) for the Detroit region and by Campbell (1940: 162-63, 196, 209) for the Toledo-Erie marsh area.

Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

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