My premier visit to Langley's Campbell Valley Regional Park on July 2 yielded an unexpected closeup with those delightful summer visitors known as Black-Headed Grosbeaks. The handsome fellow below was sporting splendid cinnamon and black plumage, and showed no restraints about catching some sun on the boardwalk. Having noticed that he was spending a bit of time on the path, I went to sit on the opposite side of it, hoping that the disturbance in the bushes meant that he was going to make another appearance, and I was finally rewarded for my efforts.


Black-Headed Grosbeak (male)

the male Black-Headed Grosbeak in all his summertime splendor (which takes 2 years to develop!)
(f/7.1, 1/400, 500mm, ISO 200) © W.H. Sim, All Rights Reserved.

I was surprised to learn that these beautiful singers will fly to the ground to eat seed; my previous encounters with these strikingly-colored songbirds were almost exclusively high up in the treetops, and deep in forests like Coquitlam's Minnekhada Park and Deboville Slough. Though their thick, conically-shaped beaks made me think that they might be related to finches, these seed eaters actually belong to the cardinal family. The females and juveniles are dull-colored affairs, compared to the males, but I've found them to be much bolder, too. Learn more about Black-Headed Grosbeaks by visiting their Cornell Lab of Ornithology profile here. ✍️

Published by Hui Sim