Wildlife Lesson-Orange Pride

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“Birds are flying over the garden. What are you doing inside the house? Join them! If you can’t join them, at least open the window and greet them!”
Mehmet Murat ildan 

 

 

On March 20th spring crawled in even though we had cold air and snow covering the garden.  But it was the signs that nature brings, that really heralded DSCN7229the new season was indeed upon us.  The red-winged blackbirds had arrived a few days before….and the deer, who were about and feeding on shrubs, were already losing their winter coats.

 

 

And I knew that eventually the warm winds would blow again and melt the foot of snow remaining (we are still waiting for the melt).  So it was time to get ready for other critters we knew would be returning.  I usually put out the hummingbird feeder in late-April as scouts can be out and about.  And right on the hummingbird’s tail feathers, is the arrival of other birds.

 

 

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One of my favorite birds, returning north anytime between later April and early May, is the Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula).  I adore their bright colors, a welcome sight, just as the trees are leafing out so I can still watch them easily.

 

 

 

Last year, they announced themselves with their wonderful song and by hanging on the two hummingbird feeders we had out (see photo at the top of the post).  I had not seen too many of these beauties before in my garden except when one or two would take a quick bath in the pond.

 

 

 

other birds on feeder

But last year, there were several hanging around the hummer feeder trying to get at the tasty liquid.  So I quickly purchased a ‘cadillac’ oriole feeder.  Orange in color with lots of spots for drinking sweetened liquid, eating orange pieces or partaking of grape jelly.  It was a big hit with the orioles and hummers, and other birds who learned how to get to the sweetened water like the catbirds, downy woodpeckers and house sparrows (top left to bottom right).

 

 

DSCN7155Last year at the crack of dawn, the orioles would wake me as they ate and sang at their feeder which was right under my bedroom window.   Such a wonderful array of bright warm colors against the early morning sun.  They are a perfect symbol of summer as the color orange represents warmth and heat.

 

 

 

I have never spotted an oriole nest in my garden, but they do build their nests in the “wild area” woods behind us.  It is an unusual sight to see this basket of grasses hanging from slim fibers on a tree branch.

 

 

And once the babies fledge, the orioles are gone as quickly as they came.  But their short time in my garden gives me much pride; which is another word for happiness.

 

 

oriole collage
Top 2 are males; bottom left is  female and bottom right is fledgling

 

Here are some interesting facts about Baltimore Orioles:

  • They got their name because their orange and black colors are the same as the heraldic crest of the Baltimore family of England.
  • It is said, Baltimore Orioles prefer only ripe, dark-colored fruit, and will ignore ripe green and yellow fruits.  Ours loved the dark grape jelly, but did not like the oranges we put out.
  • Young male Baltimore Orioles do not get their bright-orange adult feathers until their second year. They are very similar in appearance to younger females.
  • Females become a brighter orange as they molt, and almost resemble bright orange males once they are older.
  • Baltimore Orioles can stab soft fruits, and drink the liquid with their tongues.

 

 

 

With this wildlife story, I am joining in the meme Wildlife Wednesday hosted by Tina@My Gardener Says that happens the first Wednesday of every month, and with Saturday’s Critters hosted by Eileen@Viewing nature with Eileen that happens every Saturday.

 

 

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I leave you with another thought about birds.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

bird-oriole

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

46 Replies to “Wildlife Lesson-Orange Pride”

  1. These birds have always eluded me. This year a friend not two miles away from me spotted one of these orange beauties in her garden so there is hope that I could see one in my garden. I love being woken up by the birds singing. A very natural alarm clock. Lovely that you have them nesting nearby.

    1. Oh I bet they will show up one day Karin. If you have hummer feeders and a pond, they might stop by…they love open woods to nest so I would say you have the perfect habitat for them. And they do nest in Northern GA. 🙂

  2. What stunning birds. I’ve never seen them here in Central Texas though we do have red-winged blackbirds that are a bit similar. These are simply gorgeous photos. Those birds must be very happy with their situation to allow you such a close look.

    I would agree – pride is indeed another form of happiness and you have every right to be proud for hosting your wild friends so well. Happy Wildlife Wednesday!

    1. I do feel lucky Deb to have them visit….great pride indeed. And they do migrate through central TX in spring and fall so maybe one day you might spy a flash of orange!

  3. Such gorgeous photos, everyone of them! The Baltimore Orioles are just stunning birds. Like TexasDeb, I’ve never seen them here, but I know they migrate through. Shirley of Rock-Oak-Deer once posted about Orioles visiting her garden–as I recall, she put out oranges for them, which they enjoyed. I promptly placed some out and no one showed up, though I should mention that it was during fall migration south and Shirley lives in San Antonio, I’m about 70 miles north in Austin, so they’d probably been through already.

    Thanks so much for this lovely post and for participation in Wildlife Wednesday!

  4. Donna, I’ve never seen this special feeder you use to allow the other birds to get at the Hummer juice! I’m amazed. What is it actually called? I would just love to see a Baltimore Oriole. I don’t believe we have them out west, but I have many Cedar waxwings in my cherry trees just now. I love the way Cherry described the “dawn chorus.” Do you know if made the connection anew….Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. What will happen to the chorus if we aren’t careful.

    1. Susan it is an Oriole feeder, and the sweet water draws many birds including the hummers, but it is specifically designed for Baltimore Orioles. You are correct that the Orioles do not come west. I rely on the dawn chorus which is still missing here as the birds are still coming and not nesting yet…still too much snow on the ground. I would be lost if it never came again.

  5. Beautiful, beautiful birds. Thanks for the info on the orioles. It has been years and years since I’ve actually seen a Baltimore Oriole in our immediate area. I ran into a woman while shopping for birdseed a month or so ago, though, and she told me she’d seen some where she lives outside of town, so I guess they still show up here. Thanks for the photos.

    1. Thanks Michelle…my orioles got spoiled because Once I put out the sweet water, they did not want the orange and neither did any of the other birds…with the melt from yesterday, we will begin to get more nesting birds in the garden so that bird song will last even longer. Can’t wait for the sweet noise.

  6. So glad to know that Spring is finding it’s way to you dear friend. We don’t see orioles in our gardens… so happy to view them in yours!
    Have a wonderful Easter Weekend!

    1. Thanks so much Carolyn….the orioles will be a wonderful sight here in about a month and more birds are showing up now. Wishing you and your family a wonderful family and a Happy Easter!

    1. Oh I hope more birds start showing up to your area to share their beauty outside your window….we have a few and these lovely orioles won’t be here until the end of April.

  7. That opening quote is so true! Beautiful birds. That colour — so alive — is probably enough to kindle the last bits of spring waiting to green up. I just looked up their song. Lovely.

    1. Nice of you to visit Melanie. I hope to get around to blogs from Over 40 FB group this weekend. Actually these Orioles do visit IL and breed in summer. If you have hummingbirds, you might be able to see these birds especially if you put out over ripe fruit and have water nearby.

  8. I love the orioles, they are so pretty. You have nice variety of birds at your hummingbird feeder.. Wonderful photos and post.

    Thank you for linking up, have a great weekend! Happy Easter!

  9. I guess I need to get one of those cadillac feeders! The finches and verdins and even the gila woodpeckers are always emptying my feeders by causing them to tip and spill the contents!

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