Evening Grosbeak, Coccophrastes vespertinus
Large, noisy finches, Evening Grosbeaks are regularly found flocking in summer along the roadside on Highway
89 over Yuba Pass in the California Sierras, where my summer photos, the top three on this page, were taken.
They are irregular winterers in the Bay Area, and in years when they appear, they are most often seen, as shown
further down the page, flocking to eat the berries of the Chinese pistache trees planted on many suburban streets
and parking lots for their bright red fall leaves. Males, above, are strikingly colorful as well as loud and gregarious;
females, below, more subdued.
A wintering male eating a Chinese pistache berry in a residential neighborhood in Silicon Valley in the southern San Francisco Bay Area. The white growth on the bird's legs is scaly-leg, a condition caused by parasitic mites; Evening Grosbeaks are the wild birds most subject to this form of parasitism.
Above, three females and a male, drinking from a curbside puddle on a street, and below a male and female drinking from a roof gutter, in the same residential neighborhood in Silicon Valley.