This past week it was really warm out and the orioles were really interested in taking a bath in my bird bath.
This fledgling House Sparrow had just finished taking a bath.
A female Orchard Oriole looked a little lonely at my bird feeder.
Nap time for a fledgling House Sparrow.
A Grey Catbird heading for the nest with lunch.
An Eastern Bluebird caught after taking a bath.
A Baltimore Oriole waiting for its turn at the feeder.
Every spring when the Baltimore Orioles return I start feeding them grape jelly. After a couple of weeks they leave to raise their young. Sometimes a few of them will turn up at the jelly feeder during this time but for the most part I don’t see them again until the young fledge.
Once the young fledge, the adults and the young return to the jelly feeder. This has been the pattern for the past several years. This year when they returned there were a large number of them. What differed from past years was that they were frantic. It made me nervous just being around them. Then they started banging into my picture windows. At one point they were hitting the windows five or six times an hour. A couple of them were killed. This had never happened before.
I finally decided that they would be better off if I quit feeding them. I put some food out and when it was gone I did not put any more jelly out. After about a week and a half they were gone from my feeders.
I then decided to try again so I put a single jelly feeder out. This time only a few of them returned and all was calm. Since then I have had a steady stream of orioles at my feeder but the frantic chaos was no longer present.
Most of the birds are now off raising their young. The Baltimore and Orchard Orioles were at the feeders in large numbers but they have tailed off. Hopefully they are nesting in the area and will return to the feeders with their young.
The Grey Catbirds are nesting around the house in various evergreen trees and shrubs.
The Chipping Sparrows are also nesting in the same evergreen trees. It might get crowded.
The Woodpeckers are some of the most frequent visitors to my feeding stations. Hopefully they will be bringing their young to the feeders in the near future.
The Ruby-throated Humming birds are going through about a gallon of sugar water every few days.
More bird photos can be found on my website.
The past several weeks the adults birds have been bringing fledglings to the feeders to feed them and teach them how to eat at the feeders. This fledgling Yellow-bellied Sapsucker spent time around the feeder. The adult fed it on the feeder and but for about a week it would just set on the feeder and look at the grape jelly. It couldn’t quite figure out how to eat it.
Yesterday was a big bird day on the farm. I saw the first Ruby-throated Hummingbird, an Orchard Oriole turned up at my feeder as did a Gray Catbird. There was also a male Scarlet Tanager in the area.
Every spring I have Baltimore Orioles turn up at my bird feeders. In a normal year they are around for about a week before they disappear. Sometimes they will reappear again later in the summer after they raise their young. In a typical year I might have two or three at a time show up.
Back in the spring of 2011 I had an amazing week where large numbers of Baltimore Orioles turned up at my feeder. They only stayed around for a week but they were going though over a quart of grape jelly every day.
This year was a repeat of 2011. I counted over a dozen orioles at my feeder at a time during a two week period. Once again I was going through over a quart of grape jelly every day. Fortunately we didn’t have any travel plans so I was around to put Jelly out about three times a day. Apparently I wasn’t the only one with large numbers of orioles at my feeders this year because grape jelly was hard to find at the stores. My wife had to go to three different stores to get some.
It was fun to watch the females. Apparently they are the nest builders. They would turn up with some string in their beak and sit looking at the feeder. Should I eat or take the string back to the nest. In one case the female sat looking at the feeder for over five minutes before deciding to drop the string and eat at the feeder. In a few cases they would fly down to the ground and retrieve the string before leaving but in most cases they left without it.
This year was different in that I also had a few Orchard Orioles turn up at my feeders. It appears that there was at least three different Orchard Orioles around.
This year was also different in that the orioles didn’t leave after a couple of weeks. We had a trip planned and I only had a few small feeders that I was filling multiple times during the day. It was clear that these feeders would not work. I finally made a large feeder out of the bottom of a coffee container. It could easily hold over two quarts of grape jelly. I filled it up before I left hopping it would keep them happy until I returned.
When I returned I was happy to see that my new feeder worked. I assumed that all of the orioles would be gone but I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were still around and have continued to feed at my feeders. This was the first year I had seen them with nesting materials so a fair number of them must be nesting in the area.
More photos can be found on my website.