Evening Grosbeaks

    The St. George Temple has always been a jewel in my life. In daylight it stands tall like a beacon in the valley against the red cliffs. At night it shines a glowing white against the black sky like a sparkling stone. The Temple has been a center point in St. George from the beginning. It was a place of peace and comfort to the pioneers, and a monument for all. Growing up, the Temple grounds were a great place for me to go... with cool grasses, Columbines evening grosbeak(fairy flowers), Bougainvilleas (grape flowers), huge trees, and lots of birds. Today it is still a great place to go for all that, and for anticipated surprises at any time. Feathered jewel surprises!

    Over the years, I have found some rare feathered jewels just by walking around the Temple grounds. Peregrine Falcons on top of the Temple, Brown Creepers crawling up tree trunks, Crows harvesting nuts from the Pecan trees, a solitary Evening Grosbeak, and lots more. What a beautiful rare jewel that Grosbeak was. A dark head with a golden eyebrow and body, wings of black and white, and a large beak for cracking seeds. A beak that can even crack a cherry pit!

    Evening Grosbeaks are found primarily in mixed forests, so it is a real treat to see one in St. George. When winters are mild they may stay in their forest habitat year-round eating insects and seeds. Fact: When they do leave the forest habitat, many of the Evening Grosbeaks show up at bird feeders by the hundreds at the homes who supply them with sunflower seeds. To keep the beautiful Evening Grosbeaks coming to their homes, people will buy sunflower seeds in ton lots. This bird was named Evening Grosbeak because the first time it was seen in the Americas, it was in the evening. Eventually birders found that Evening Grosbeaks were morning feeders and are busy foraging food at first light.

    Brenda Rusnell is the artist for the Evening Grosbeak this week.  Brenda the artist, and husband Ken the supporter makes for a great team.  Thank you Brenda for this spectacular picture.  We appreciate the time you give to help us identify birds.  If you have a hankering to see this magnificent bird, or want information about the Red Cliffs Audubon activities, call Marilyn Davis at 435 673-0996. Our next General Meeting, "Raptors of the Skies" will be presented by Cordell Peterson on Wednesday, November 12, at 7:00 p.m. in the Tonaquint Nature Center (1851 South Dixie Dr.) Public welcome.

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