South Dakota
Birds and Birding
Like this page? Give me a +1!!

Pine Grosbeak

Pinicola enucleator

Length: 9.5 inches Wingspan: 14 inches Seasonality: Rare in Winter
ID Keys: Pink and gray (male), females gray with yellow on head, long tail, stubby bill, two white wing-bars

Pine Grosbeak - Pinicola enucleatorThe Pine Grosbeak is normally a bird of the boreal forests of Canada and the mountain west of the United States.  However, when food conditions are poor in their normal range, they may stage large irruptive migrations well to the south and east, including to parts of South Dakota.  They are often extremely tame and allow a very close approach. 

Habitat: Found in open conifer forest during the summer breeding season.  Usually, it's spruce and fir they're found in, not pine (despite the name).  In winter, they can also often be found in deciduous trees, especially trees that produce edible fruit.

Diet: Primarily feeds on plant material, especially the seeds of conifers and other trees, tree buds, fruits and berries, and occasionally the seeds of weeds and grasses.  They will also eat insects when available during the summer months.

Behavior: Moves deliberately branches of trees and shrubs when foraging, often in small flocks.

Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota.

Song: Rich musical warbling. 

Migration: Primarily a permanent resident throughout much of its range, although birds at the northern end of its range may move southward in the winter.  They do sometimes make winter 'invasions' well to the south of their normal range if poor food conditions exist.

Bird Feeders: Will attend feeders for various seeds, especially sunflower seeds.

Similar Species: Red Crossbill, White-winged Crossbill

Conservation Status: Numbers appear to be stable.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter: Pine Grosbeak

2) Cornell University's "All About Birds - Pine Grosbeak"

3) eNature.com: Pine Grosbeak

Photo Information: June 24th, 2006 - Near Portage Glacier, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska - Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Pine Grosbeak photos.

 

Click on the range map below for a higher-resolution view 
Pine Grosbeak - Species Range Map
South Dakota Status: Irregular, rare visitor in winter, primarily in the Black Hills.