Saturday, June 20, 2020

My Favorite "Summer" Visitor: Hooded Orioles on the Tuolumne River

There are not a lot of places to see Hooded Orioles (Icterus cucullatus) in our county in the Great Valley of California. We are pretty close to the northern edge of their range in the United States, although they are being seen farther and farther north as the climate warms.
I followed the advice of local birders and searched the palm trees at Fox Grove a few miles downstream to find them for the first time. Not long after I discovered that some were nesting in palms along the Tuolumne Parkway Trail, a fact that thrilled me to no end.
This year offered a big surprise, as a pair seemed to have not migrated to Mexico last winter, and stayed in the palms along the river. For a time they were the only Hooded Orioles reported in the entire Great Valley, and one of only four in the entire state of California. They've continued to hang out this summer, so this is a compilation of pictures I've managed to capture over the last few months during my daily walks. The more plainly colored individual is a female.
They are one of my favorite birds, as you might guess!