When I first noticed Baltimore Orioles in our fields it was around April 26, 2011. It was such a beautiful striking bird that I made an Easter e card of it and posted it to facebook to share with friends.
My 2011 Baltimore Oriole card
I didn’t see orioles again until the spring of 2012. Their arrival has become an awaited miracle of sorts, to be a part of the great avian migrations that tie us to faraway southern and northern climes.
One of the great things about the internet is the sharing of information and knowledge, available in an instant after a few considered keystrokes.
Here is a website that is so informative everyone should know about it: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/Page.aspx?pid=1189.
Please share this website. It is developed and maintained by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and is very user friendly.
This winter I looked up information on oriole feeders, what to feed Baltimore Orioles, and where Baltimore Orioles prefer to nest. I had seen a Baltimore Oriole nest some years ago in Atlantic County. The owner of the property proudly showed us the nest, extolling on the marvels of engineering and craftsmanship of the basket nest. We agreed!
We resolved that if we saw one this year, we would provide sustenance, as a red carpet invitation to stay or at least to provide sustenance on the journey home. On April 27 we saw the first oriole, and a repurposed seed cylinder feeder became an orange feeder. Instantly the oriole was upon it and began to rip the juicy center out.
First Baltimore oriole sighting in my fields April 27- enjoying the oranges gladly offered
We drove to our local birding store and purchased an oriole feeder. Following the nectar mix directions, the feeder was up within the hour, but this oriole clearly preferred the orange. He was gone the next day, but each day a new orange went out, and every two days in this cooler weather a new batch of nectar was mixed up.
You may have hummingbird feeders up, and you may also know that the hummingbirds have been here since April. The unattended oriole feeder became a new secret hangout for hummingbirds who didn’t care to joust with the self appointed guardian of each hummingbird feeder. It was pretty cute to see two or three perched on the bright orange feeder that has feeding holes big enough for a hummingbird to stick their head in.
My photo from July 07, 2012 taken of one of our nine feeders, showing how fiercely males, and sometimes females will guard the hummingbird feeders from other hummingbirds.
The oranges remained pristine, if a tad withered by the end of the day. Then on May 09 a little section was picked out and sure enough, there was another oriole in the apple tree. He utilized both the orange and the feeder, but our thought was that he too was just passing through.
Yet the next day the orange was picked out and we were encouraged. The following day the orange was savaged but no bright orange bird was seen.
I had time to stake out the feeder the next morning, and saw a Gray Catbird going at the orange.
I took a photo and went back on the site mentioned above and sure enough, Gray Catbirds do eat fruit so that was our “new” oriole. The Gray Catbirds who live in the greenbrier hedge must have thought they hit the lottery!
Now, today, I was lucky enough to get a photo to share with you of the “oriole” feeding station with both species happily engaged.
The “oriole” feeding station in our field- proving that in nature, rarely is anything ever let go to waste.
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