Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Orioles in Spring

Sometimes the mowing and such keeps me close to home, but that's okay.  On a recent day I went over to the small (and I mean really small) town park in my neighborhood.  It's so small they don't even have a set of swings, but I digress. That little park can have some nice birds in the spring.

While I was talking with a passing neighbor, I noticed movement in the adjacent power line.  Swinging the camera over to the action, I found a very colorful male Baltimore Oriole. There are a lot of dead weed stalks  on the power line. They are left over from last year.  These stalks are attractive to these Orioles because they  weave a hanging pouch for a nest. The dead stalks  have the long fibers that are ideal for their needs.

So it was that this bird disappeared into the tangle and reappeared with some fibers.  Almost simultaneously, a female appeared nearby.  She must have been on the same mission for good materials.

What happened next was the sort of behavior that draws me to watching and photographing birds.  The male laid the fibers on her back and proceeded to mate with her, while she still held her own set of fibers in her beak.  This all happened very quickly.

The male Oriole retired to a nearby bush and I could still see his set of nest fibers on her back.

She collected the fibers from her back. A moment later both Orioles were winging up the hillside towards some treetop to add to their nest. I've seen Oriole nests, and it strikes me that they must repeat this trip to find nest fibers a hundred times over each day for days to take the next step and deposit eggs into the nest. Such persistence!


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