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They may have an odd name, but there is nothing gross about grosbeaks.
• The male Rose-breasted Grosbeak shares incubation duties with the female and is known to even sing while sitting on the nest.
• The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is beneficial to farmers, consuming many potato beetles and weed seeds.
• The Rose-breasted Grosbeak will breed with the Black-headed Grosbeak in areas where their ranges overlap.
• Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are known for singing on moonlit nights, sometimes all night, but never very loudly.
• The nests of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are commonly parasitized by the Brown-headed Cowbird, possibly due to the singing done by both the male and female as they construct the nest.
• The nests of the Rose-breasted and Black-headed Grosbeaks are so thinly constructed that eggs often can be seen through the nest from below.
• The males of both the Rose-breasted and Black-headed Grosbeak share equally in incubating eggs and feeding young, despite having a much showier plumage than their respective females.
• The Black-headed and Rose-breasted Grosbeak have unusual diets for birds with such a big seed-eating beak. Throughout most of the year, over half of their diet is made up of insects. Their huge beaks allows them to eat large grasshoppers, crickets and other insects that have tough exoskeletons.
• By singing a "male" song, the female Black-headed Grosbeak can trick her mate into thinking a rival male is nearby, forcing him to stay closer to the nest.
• Evening Grosbeaks can break open seeds that require up to 125 pounds of pressure to crush.
• Black-headed Grosbeaks have been known to feed at oriole nectar feeders.
• Evening Grosbeaks are often attracted to salt and other mineral sources.
• The Evening Grosbeak was not commonly found east of the Rocky Mountains before the 1850's. Winter irruptions now occur in all of the 48 contiguous states. This expansion may be attributed to widespread planting of box elder trees in landscapes across the east. Its seeds persist on the tree throughout the winter and provided flocks with a reliable source of food.
• The Evening Grosbeak was named in 1825 based on erroneous accounts that they became vocal and active only "at the approach of night." This erroneous belief persisted for years, and the name is still a misnomer.