rose breasted grosbeak

How To Attract Rose-breasted Grosbeak: The Easiest Way!

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a medium-sized migratory songbird that spends the winter in the Southern United States and Central America, and the Caribbean. They travel north in spring to breed and nest in Canada, New England, Pennsylvania, Ohio Valley, Georgia and parts of Ontario.

These birds are more likely to be seen among trees or bushes rather than out in open fields. The Rose-breasted Grosbeak has been recorded as far south as southern Texas on rare occasions.


  • Male: The male of this species has a black head and back, an orange-red throat, and white underparts with bold streaks on its flanks.
  • Female: The female is less flashy but still brightly colored with red markings on her breast and head which often looks like a cap or hood covering her face.


  • These birds live in areas such as orchards, and groves but breeds mostly in open deciduous woods, and sometimes in mixed woods, with deciduous trees such as oaks, maple, birch, and willow.


  • They are known for their variety in diet which includes seeds, fruits, nectar and insects (which they catch on the wing). 

How To Attract Rose-breasted Grosbeaks

Put up a Bird Feeder

The easiest way to attract these popular visitors is by filling a hopper style or tube (with a perching tray) seed feeder filled with black oil sunflower seeds or even peanuts. This will provide them with a reliable food source that they love and keep them coming back time after time.

The feeder features a unique design that keeps seed from spilling onto the ground and makes it easy for birds to access their favorite black oil sunflower seed.

This feeder has a design that allows birds to cling and perch while feeding, and it is less likely for the seeds to be stolen by other hungry critters.

Image by klimkin from Pixabay

Get a Platform Tray Feeder

I know it sounds like a lot of work, but installing a platform feeder is one of the best ways to attract grosbeaks in your yard.

If you’re wanting to see more grosbeaks in your yard consider a platform feeder filled with the grosbeaks favorite food, black-oil sunflower seed.

The best part about these types of feeders is that they can be filled with different seeds, nuts and more depending on what birds are visiting.

Foods you can use with your platform tray feeder:

  • Black-oil sunflower seed
  • Sunflower
  • Chopped tree nuts
  • Sunflower chips
  • Shelled peanuts
  • Suet nuggets
  • Safflower
  • Striped sunflower
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries.
Nature's Way Bird Products CWF3 Cedar Platform Tray Bird Feeder
Nature’s Way Bird Products Cedar Platform Tray Bird Feeder

Plant Shrubs, Fruit Trees, Vines & Bushes

Grosbeaks are a very popular bird that will stop by your yard to eat cherries, berries from the trees and bushes. They love all kinds of berries like blackberries, blueberries, elderberries, service berry, and more.

You can attract them with fruit-bearing plants or berry bushes in your garden or backyard. These birds also enjoy eating seed from sunflower and fruit plants such as bananas, apples, oranges and peaches.

Grosbeaks will come for their favorite fruits and stay longer than usual if you put some out in an area they can get to easily like on a low branch.

  • Wild Cherry
  • Arrowhead
  • Mulberry
  • Blueberry
  • Wild Cherry
  • Elderberry
  • Service Berry
  • Pokeweed
  • Wild Grape
  • Sunflower
  • Wild Blackberry
  • Virginia Creeper

Plant Trees

Rose-breasted Grosbeak is easily attracted to a garden with some cherry, crab apple, pine, maple or ash trees. These trees are not difficult to find and often can be found in any suburban area.

This small bird will nest in cavities so make sure there are plenty of holes for them to choose from when they arrive. One should also keep an eye out for nesting material that these birds use including grasses, twigs and bark chips.

  • Willow
  • Birch
  • Aspen
  • Hornbeam
  • Maple
  • Elm
  • Hemlock
  • Oak
  • Hickory
Willow Trees
Image by Ray Miller from Pixabay

Hang a Suet Feeder

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a bird that loves to eat fruit and berry and even peanut butter suet. They are fairly easy to attract as long as you have these ingredients in your yard.

You can hang the suet feeders with either peanut butter or wild berry suet from tree branches, place it on an open branch or simply just put it on the ground. It’s important not to put too much out at once because this could lead them away from their food source and into other areas of your property.

Fly-Through Suet Cake Feeder
Fly-Through Suet Cake Feeder 

Try Grape Jelly

The Red-breasted Grosbeak loves eating grape jelly from feeders because it has sweet flavor. The grosbeak also enjoys eating many other things like peanut butter chips.

Perky-Pet Jelly Wild Bird Feeder
Perky-Pet Jelly Wild Bird Feeder

Get a Birdbath

Birds need to drink and bathe in water, so you should have a bird bath available for them. Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are common visitors to bird baths.

They love splashing around in the water and drinking from it at the same time. These birds also like to sit on nearby branches or rocks while they enjoy their bath time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do rose breasted grosbeaks eat?

They feed on insects, seeds, nuts, fruits and flower buds, caterpillars, gypsy moths, beetles, bees, ants, crabapples and service berries.

Elderberries are one of their favorite foods when they come back for breeding season in the springtime. They will spend their time at elderberry bushes picking away at berries.

Do rose breasted grosbeaks migrate?

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a migratory bird, meaning that it has to migrate between its breeding and wintering grounds. It lives in the eastern United States, but during the summer months it will travel to Central America for breeding purposes.

In late September, they will start their migration back north again, flying through Mexico or Texas and over the Gulf of Mexico before finally arriving at their winter home in South Florida or Southern Louisiana.

When do rose breasted grosbeaks migrate?

They typically begin their migration in August or September, when they start travelling to Central and South America for the winter.

Once they have migrated back north from Central and South America in March or April, the grosbeaks will often stay close to home until May before migrating again southwards towards Mexico.

How big is a rose-breasted grosbeak?

The size of the rose-breasted grosbeak can vary greatly depending on sex and season. Males are usually larger than females during breeding season but not outside of it.

They are medium-sized birds measuring approximately 7.1-8.3 in (17.8 -21.6 cm) in length, with a weight of 1.5-1.8 oz (43-51 g), and a wingspan of 11.5-13.2 in (29.2-33.5 cm).

How long do rose-breasted grosbeaks live?

The Rose-breasted Grosbeaks have a lifespan of approximately 13 years in the wild and over 20 years in captivity. This is much longer than the average life expectancy for most birds which is about two to five years.

Are the cardinal and rose-breasted grosbeak related?

The cardinal and rose-breasted grosbeak are both part of the finch family, which also includes crossbills, goldfinches, pine siskins, redpolls, tanagers, and snow buntings.

The species in this group have evolved from an ancestor with a yellow beak into several lineages with distinctive beaks shapes.

Both have an extensive range throughout Canada and South into Mexico. It is a common misconception that they are two different species because of their different coloring patterns but they share many physical traits as well.

Are rose-breasted grosbeaks rare?

This species has no official status as endangered or threatened, but it can be difficult to spot because of its skittish behavior, where they tend to remain hidden from view among trees or bushes. People who live near heavily wooded areas may be more likely to spot these birds than those living near large cities.

Do rose-breasted grosbeaks mate for life?

Rose-breasted grosbeaks are monogamous birds that mate for life. They mostly choose their mates by singing to them and exchanging food items.

In the wild, male rose-breasted grosbeaks typically have one female partner in which they build a nest with her and share all parental duties such as feeding of the young and incubating eggs.

This type of bond lasts for a lifetime as both males and females remain loyal to each other until death or until one dies.