Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Colorful Birds of Spring

I saw my first Baltimore oriole and first rose-breasted grosbeak of the season yesterday, within about 15 minutes of each other. I'd put the oriole feeder up in the snow late last week, and just put the hummingbird feeder out yesterday. I haven't spotted any hummingbirds yet. The grosbeak was trying to eat from our caged feeder that only allows small birds inside, and was probably finding that quite frustrating.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (2011)

I didn't see any rose-breasted grosbeaks at the feeders last year, but in 2011 they appeared at the feeders on May 7. Rose-breasted grosbeaks winter in southern Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and northern South America. Read more about them at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds site.

Baltimore orioles have appeared in early May the last couple of years. Here's a photo from last year. I've written more about orioles here. They winter in much the same areas as the grosbeaks, plus Florida.

Baltimore Oriole (2012)

Within half an hour last evening I saw birds of brilliant orange, rose, red and blue -- an oriole, a rose-breasted grosbeak, a cardinal and a blue jay. No goldfinches, though. I remarked on this sudden richness of colorful birds in May two years ago, saying I felt like Dorothy stepping into the technicolor world of Oz.

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