For several years I worked for a company where the business was run out of a house behind the former Mexico Chiquito located off Rodney Parham Rd. in Little Rock. My boss let me set up feeders in the backyard. One year a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak arrived with two males. She literally took over the “big” feeder and refused to let the two males eat. She aggressively charged at both birds if they tried to get on the feeder. They were too big for the smaller feeders. Oddly enough, they would never eat on the ground. For a day and a half the two boys just sat in a tree occasionally getting a seed here or there.
On the 2nd afternoon a third male arrived. I just happen to look up in time to see her go after the new male. Instead of flying away, he just calmly moved to the other side of the feeder. She went after him again, so he moved to the front side. On her 3rd attempt she charged the male low, he responded by reaching over and grabbing her by the back of the neck, yanked her off the feeder, then shook her back and forth until feathers gave way and she tumbled to the ground.
A few minutes later all four birds were happily sharing the same feeder.
From: Ed Laster
Sent: Monday, May 01, 2017 3:09 PM
Subject: Re: Kite Watching and other birds.
More bird behavior-
I've always found it interesting that Rose-breasted Grosbeak have a difficult time landing in a feeder that larger birds easily manage. Many times I've watched them make numerous attempts to land then flutter around and land in a nearby tree. After awhile they always manage to get the technique figured out. But it has made me wonder if they are that unfamiliar with feeders.
I have also noticed that they are cautious, but it seems to be only initially. Yesterday a female RBGR and a female Cardinal squared off on a small seed tray and both challenged the other with open beaks. It then escalated to beak to beak combat with the RBGR winning the battle, for the moment, until the Red-bellied Woodpecker decided he wanted to sit there. Around my place, nobody tells him where to sit.