Monday, July 13, 2015

The Attraction of Trumpet Vine

There was a lot of bird chatter around our home garden this morning, as the early fog lifted. Nuthatches, Black-capped Chickadees, Cardinals and Woodpeckers were heard frequently.  But activity at our Trumpet Vine was silent, and, more interesting.  Only twenty feet from our sun room, there was a feeding frenzy by a flock of Baltimore Orioles with one Scarlet Tanager tagging along.  No time for the big camera and lens, so I grabbed the little Nikon 1 V2 and fired away. While most of the flock stayed in the treetops, individual birds would come down to the Trumpet Vine growing on the arbor.

They all appeared to be females and juveniles, maybe twenty or more. They were also in the cherry and osier, presumably after berries. The target of the orioles in the Trumpet Vine was a little different. They were taking apart the blooms for the sweet parts.

My original thought was that they were seeking the nectar just like a bee or hummingbird.  But the evidence on review of my photos changed my thinking. Now, I recalled watching them devour the meat of ripe oranges in spring. They did not restrict their feeding to open flowers. They also tore open the buds.

But, more was revealed by the photos. They had a wider diet - ants. Look at the beak of this bird.

Mixed with the fascinating display of Baltimore Oriole behavior was another visitor to the flowers.

On occasion, the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds would land and crawl up onto the flower to reach the nectar. The activity continued for about twenty minutes before the Orioles moved on to new grounds. 

I had passed on a trip up to a natural area this morning with the intention to get some chores done.  The unintended consequence of staying home outweighed the  importance of doing those chores.


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