Saturday, April 20, 2019

Well, I Never....Really? In my own Backyard? Hooded Orioles

It's been a week now since I reported seeing a Hooded Oriole in my backyard. It was an astounding moment, being that Hooded Orioles (Icterus cucullatus) have been one of my most challenging species to observe. In the three weeks since the first sighting in our county, only about five birders have reported seeing any at all.
It turns out, though, that as rare as they seem to be around the region, they're a common sight in my backyard. Our hummingbird feeder is not in an easily visible spot from inside our house. There's no place to sit and watch it. We have to notice feeding birds as we walk from one room to another, and despite this, I've seen an oriole at the feeder at least a dozen times now. And yesterday, the oriole visitors included at least one female!

Like many bird species, the female Hooded Orioles are not quite as showy and colorful as the males, but they are quite beautiful just the same. They are almost entirely yellow with black and white wings. The fact that there is at least one pair in the immediate vicinity leads me to wonder if there is a nest nearby. The orioles weave hanging nests constructed in part from palm leaf fibers, so our neighborhood palm trees are getting increased scrutiny these days...

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