DRESSED FOR OPERA: With such dramatic markings (yellow and black body, brilliant white patches on the wings, bright yellow unibrow), this male evening grosbeak was spotted lying on McLeod Road. Probably hit by a car, it was suffering from serious head trauma and a damaged wing. Even a few weeks later its wing was still drooping.
Finally, after almost a month of rehab at Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society, including mountains of mealworms and fruit and sunflower seeds, and gradually increased cage sizes to allow safe developmental use of his wing, his flying was still not strong and he was moved to the front porch for exercise. But life on the porch can be too easy and winter residents have to be chased about to encourage them to fly.
Evening grosbeaks use their enormous bills to crush seeds that are too large for common redpolls and pine siskins to open. Those smaller birds often seek out grosbeaks and glean the food scraps they leave behind.
Belonging to the finch family, grosbeaks resemble a large goldfinch. In the early 19th century, English-speaking settlers in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains came across a beautiful big-beaked bird that appeared mysteriously from somewhere in the distant west. They named it evening grosbeak in the mistaken belief that it came out of the woods to sing mostly at dusk.