Pine Grosbeak

There are some neat food habits of our winter bird visitor, the Pine Grosbeak (Pinicola enucleator.) This lovely red and slate-colored bird loves our Canadian forests, and frequents the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas because of the evergreens, and the bird feeders of Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area.

The pine grosbeak wanders around five provinces of Canada, and 14 states of the USA. The winter feeding habits are quite distinct from the summer food preferences. They like seeds of conifers, seeds of birch, weeds and grass, all types of berries and buds of ash, maple and conifer trees. In the summer time, the Pine Grosbeak will turn to a greater quantity of wild berries such as those from the dogwood. The remainder of the Pine Grosbeak diet are insects such as grasshoppers, ants, spiders, caterpillars, small flies and beetles.

So it makes sense, this little colorful bird’s genus name Pinicola enucleator pinus (“ pine ”) + colō (“ to inhabit ”.)   So we have as the etymology the specific meaning of  pinicola which means inhabiting (living on) Pinus species, or in the pine trees. And very marvelously the species name of enucleator has an etymology or a meaning of “to remove the kernel from” which is just perfect. This little birds with the specifically adapted beak or a “gros” “beak” meaning large beak especially meant for eating the seeds from the pine cones of the Scots Pine and the Engelmann’s Spruce in the afforestation areas.

Pine Grosbeak

The PINE GROSBEAK Pinicola enucleator at a Length of 9 inches. features some differences between males and females.

Male: Heavy bill, giving it almost the appearance of a Parrot. Above general colour strawberry-red, with some gray fleckings, deepest coloration on head and rump. Wings and tail brown ; some feathers edged with lighter brown and some with white. Below paler red, turning to grayish green on belly. Bill and feet blackish.

Female: Ash-brown, with yellowish bronze wash on rump, head, and breast.

Song .• A subdued, rattling warble broken by whistling notes.

Season: A winter visitor whose appearance is as irregular as the length of its stay.

Breeds : Far north in evergreen woods

Nest: Saddled on a branch or in a crotch. Twigs, roots, and fibre below, with a soft upper section

Pine Grosbeak Pinicola enucleator

This winter visitor is most commonly seen in January out at the afforestation area, so this flock seen in February was a little treat.

Remember to record your sightings on eBird or iNaturalist 😉

Check out the iNaturalist.pdf pamphlet! 

Remember you can download the winter bird checklist brochure here!

The Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. Winter Staycation Brochure 

“The more I work with birds, the more I believe in the undreamt, the things we are not given to know.”  

Julie Zickefoose

For directions as to how to drive to “George Genereux” Urban Regional Park
For directions on how to drive to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
For more information:
Blairmore Sector Plan Report; planning for the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, George Genereux Urban Regional Park and West Swale and areas around them inside of Saskatoon city limits
NEW P4G District Official Community Plan
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city. 52° 06′ 106° 45′
Part SE 23-36-6 – Afforestation Area – 241 Township Road 362-A
Part SE 23-36-6 – SW Off-Leash Recreation Area (Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area ) – 355 Township Road 362-A
S ½ 22-36-6 Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area (West of SW OLRA) – 467 Township Road 362-A
NE 21-36-6 “George Genereux” Afforestation Area – 133 Range Road 3063
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page:
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
Where is the George Genereux Urban Regional Park (Afforestation Area)?with map

Pinterest richardstbarbeb
Blogger: FriendsAfforestation
Facebook Group Page: Users of the George Genereux Urban Regional Park
Facebook: StBarbeBaker Afforestation Area
Facebook for the non profit Charity Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. FriendsAreas
Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Facebook: South West OLRA
Reddit: FriendsAfforestation
Twitter: St Barbe Baker Charity Twitter:FriendsAreas
Mix: friendsareas
Please help protect / enhance your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail / e-transfers )Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year). Please donate by paypal using the e-mail friendsafforestation AT, or by using e-transfers Please and thank you! Your donation and membership is greatly appreciated. Members e-mail your contact information to be kept up to date! Canada Helps

United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

“In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.”

 Robert Lynd

““Everyone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird?”
-– David Attenborough

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