While we were preparing lunch a few years ago, I remarked that I thought the rose-breasted grosbeaks should be returning soon. It’s usually the second week of May we start to see them at the feeders in our part of West Michigan. Five minutes later I looked out and there he was! The first grosbeak of the season.
I thought these birds would make a lovely rose-breasted grosbeak themed unit study. If learning with themes or unit studies are new to you, check out my post on How to Create a Unit Study. To make planning your unit study as easy as possible, I created this Learning with Themes Activity Pack. It contains 41 pages of printables and worksheets that can be used with virtually any learning theme, including birds and Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks. All of the single page unit study printables shown on this page are included.
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak Male and Female Markings
The males are so distinctive in their coloring that you can’t miss them when they show up! They are beautiful when they fly because you can see the white and black markings so clearly.
The females have the distinctive white marking around their eyes. It makes it easier to identify them from a distance. Both the female and male have a body and beak shape that also makes them easier to distinguish from other birds. (Can you tell the ways that they are similar to the cardinals to whom they are related?)
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak Songs
Rose-breasted grosbeaks have a beautiful song. They sound much like a robin, but you can learn to tell the difference. Here is one singing.
Feeding Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks
Many people choose not to put out birdseed in the spring and summer since the birds have an abundance of food around them throughout nature. We feed year round for two reasons. One, the birds are like our pets. Two, if we didn’t feed all year we would never see the summer birds such as the grosbeaks.
We put three or four different bird feeders out the first year we moved in and were thrilled to see grosbeaks. We had only seen them once or twice before at our feeders in the city. Now that we’ve been feeding them for a number of years, we will have four or five pairs each year. They come to the feeders like clockwork each day and we can enjoy watching them while we eat. They especially love eating from our birdfeeder like this one.
Here are a male and female eating together. They love black oil sunflower seeds which is what we put out year round. It gives birds the most nutrition and it is far better than putting out cheaper mixed seed.
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak Breeding and Migration Map
This map from Wikipedia shows their breeding and migration patterns. The light yellow is the breeding range. The orange is the migration only range. The blue is the wintering range. I am always amazed that our birds fly far away and then return to our feeder again the next spring!
Create your own map for your study.
Reading about Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks
Learn more interesting facts about rose-breasted grosbeaks at these websites:
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak Vocabulary and Spelling
Here is a list of words you can use for vocabulary or spelling activities during your study.
- black oil sunflower
- triangular bill
Birds Word Search Puzzle
For fun, create a word search using the word list above.
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak Facts
Use this simple printable as a fun way to keep track of important facts or your favorite facts you learn about rose-breasted grosbeaks.
Comparing Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks to Other Birds
How do rose-breasted grosbeaks compare to other birds you might see more often? Complete a Venn diagram to compare them with another type of bird (cardinal, blue jay, sparrow, etc.).
Fun Facts about Birds
If you are interested in learning even more about birds, here are some fun resources from my printables shop.
Bird Guides and Books about Birds
Every home should have a couple of bird books on hand so you can grab them and look up new birds that visit your yard.