Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Evening Grosbeak - Coccothraustes vespertinus
FRINGILLIDAE Members:
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General Comments Perhaps the epitome of "winter finches" is the Evening Grosbeak, and each fall or early winter, birders in the East wait in anticipation for this highly erratic bird to appear. In the latter part of the 1960's and the 1970's, the species made near-regular appearances every other winter, in good numbers, and even in off years, a few were reported. However, the species has undergone a major population decline in recent decades, and there have been relatively few North Carolina reports in the past decade. Many "new" birders have yet to see the species in the state, and it has often been missed by birders conducting Big Years in the state. Fortunately, the winter of 2012-13 produced a mild invasion into the East, with scattered reports again being made in the state. The species nests across the boreal forest zone of southern Canada and the northern and western parts of the United States. When found in North Carolina, they usually are first noted as single birds or small groups well overhead, giving loud "teer" calls. For the first part of the winter, birds tend to remain in forested areas, both conifer and hardwood, away from towns and residential areas, but by midwinter they start to appear at feeders (at least formerly).
Breeding Status Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SZ
Global Rank G5
Coastal Plain Erratic winter visitor; strongly declining. Currently, rare to uncommon in "good" winters; rarely even fairly common. Absent to very rare in most recent winters. Formerly, was fairly common to at times common in invasion winters, though rare to absent in others. Typically more numerous in the northern portions than in the southern. Mainly early Nov to late Apr; however, a number of May records, and the latest is 1 Jun. A few records as early as Sep. Peak counts:
Piedmont Erratic winter visitor; strongly declining. Currently, uncommon in invasive winters; rarely fairly common. Can be absent or very rare in many winters now. Formerly, fairly common to common during invasion winters. Mainly early or mid-Nov to late Apr, though numerous May records, and one outlandish report of a male at Chapel Hill on 26 Jul 1978. Peak counts: 600, Pee Dee NWR, 9 Jan 1980.
Mountains Erratic winter visitor; strongly declining. Currently, uncommon in invasive winters; rarely fairly common. Absent to very rare in many winters now. Formerly, fairly common to at times common during invasion winters. Mainly mid-Nov to mid-Apr. Out of season were two at Beech Mountain on 11 Aug 1979. Peak counts: 200, Roan Mountain, 5 Dec 1993.
Finding Tips The species is seldom seen in the state in recent years. It is very important to learn the call note, as first detection is normally of a bird or birds calling high overhead.
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Attribution LeGrand[2018-02-01], LeGrand[2013-11-11], LeGrand[2012-11-09]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.
NA Maps
(source NatureServe)

View NatureServe distribution maps for Coccothraustes vespertinus