Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The King of Orange - Baltimore Oriole at Feeder

I've had plenty of opportunity to observe our feeders the last few days while at home recuperating from minor surgery. I've been hoping to capture a male oriole at the oriole feeder in good light, and finally had the chance this evening. He and his mate have been regular visitors the last couple of weeks, but they don't stay long and are quick to depart if they sense motion nearby, so it's not easy to get a photo set up. This time he hung around for just long enough. By the time I pressed the shutter again, he was gone.

Baltimore oriole (male) at feeder

He gives a long percussive chittering call when he arrives at the feeder, which helps me look up at the right time to see him; I've noticed that blue jays also often announce their arrival. I suppose it is a territorial/possessive statement ("MY feeder. MY grape jelly."), but I appreciate that he announces his presence since I never tire of seeing this beautiful bird, which is just with us for a few months each year.

The songs and calls of the Baltimore oriole are quite varied. You can hear several versions at the All About Birds site. I don't hear the percussive call I've described in any of these samples; it may be the "sharp, repetitive chuck" that is described as an alarm call in the text. None of these samples offers the  song that's on my Audubon bird clock, either -- the one that sounds like "Figaro Figaro Figaro."

We offer both grape jelly and orange halves at this feeder but, although orioles are said to like oranges, the oranges are ignored while the jelly is gobbled down.


Michael said...

Very nice photos and account. Thanks for sharing.

They're a vagrant here - we've seen them the last two springs but no sign as yet.

Dan Tallman said...

Hope you are feeling better!