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Tag Archives: baltimore orioles

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.

Orchard and Baltimore Orioles

Orchard and Baltimore Orioles

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.

Orchard Oriole

Orchard Oriole

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.

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

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.

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On May 5th I saw my first Grey Catbirds of the season. They have been hanging out near my bird feeders and evergreens in front of the house.

Grey Catbird

Grey Catbird

On the 6th of May I noticed that the Baltimore Orioles and the Humming birds had returned.

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

Ruby-throated Hummingbird female

Ruby-throated Hummingbird female

Today I noticed that the female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks had returned. The male grosbeaks returned last week. I also saw an Indigo Bunting at the feeder this afternoon.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak female

Rose-breasted Grosbeak female

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting

The second week of May many of the spring birds returned to the farm. The Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Baltimore Orioles, Grey Catbirds, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and Song Sparrows all returned at about the same time.

The Rose-breasted Grosbeaks stayed around for a couple of weeks before they went off to raise their young. Occasionally I would see one at the feeder. This past week they started returning to the feeders in increasing numbers.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

The pattern for the Baltimore Orioles was similar to that of the grosbeaks. They stayed around for a few weeks in large numbers. At one point I had 17 at my feeding stations and was going through a quart of grape jelly every day. The same thing happened last year. I also notice that they had nest building materials at the feeders. It was fun to watch them come to the feeder with nest building material and then have to decide whether to keep the nest building material or get some grape jelly. Usually the grape jelly won out. The important thing was that they were going to build nests which would mean they would return after raising their young. This past week they started to return for grape jelly.

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

The Grey Catbirds stayed around the feeders and built a nest close to the house where they raised one fledgling which left the nest several weeks ago. They do feed at the feeders occasionally. Mostly they like the peanut butter suet and occasionally they will eat the grape jelly. The fledgling and the adults have been hanging around the house.

Grey Catbird

Grey Catbird

The Song Sparrows also built nests near the house but I haven’t been able to identify the fledgling birds. The Song Sparrows are a frequent visitor to the bird bath.

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have stayed around although the past few weeks the numbers have declined. They are probably off raising their young.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

I have noticed that a fledgling Downy Woodpecker has been hanging out at the suet feeder where the adult has been feeding it. The same thing had happened with a Red-bellied Woodpecker.

Downy Woodpeckers

Downy Woodpeckers

Red-bellied Woodpeckers

Red-bellied Woodpeckers

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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More photos can be found on my website.