Because it’s still mostly dark when I get up and dark again when I get in from work I have to do my feeder-watching in stolen moments when I should be paying attention to other things. This oriole very nearly made me late for work this morning! I’ve never drawn an oriole to the feeders, most certainly not in January! This bird should be down Mary’s way in North Carolina. It was still darkish when I took the photos and that top one is through the window screen as well, but I guess it must be a Northern Oriole, because Orchards should be real far south in Florida now. If I saw this bird in the spring I would call it an Orchard, though. But I’ve never been good at identifying birds in their in-between plumages. Maybe someone can help? Would one of you bander folks that check in here be able to help me out with some ID tips?
It came in with a small group of starlings and poked around in one of the sunflower feeders before finding the suet log. I took a few minutes to cut open an orange left over from Christmas and put that out in a basket feeder, although by that point the flock had moved on. I’ve seen photos of orioles feeding at orange halves and sugar-water feeders, but I’ve never been able to lure them down from the locust tree blossoms in spring or the mulberries in late summer. That I should get one now I guess is proof that the bird is having a hard time finding food, right? Something else for me to worry over. 😉
In case you’re paying attention to that *What I’m Reading* thingy over in the sidebar – I’ve finally updated it. I can’t really call what I’ve been doing lately *reading* – it’s more like perusing 5 different books at the same time – but I’d left that book about the Pine Barrens up for months after I finished reading it actively because quite a few folks have clicked on it. I’ve replaced it with another of Joanna Burger’s books that I *read* years ago, but now I’m just *perusing* for ideas and some inspiration on where to spend my free time. It’s a good book and one that I think most anyone that lives near the shore would enjoy.
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The other night I read about the Brant that winter in Barnegat Bay here in NJ (approx. 50,000 according to Burger) and how they prefer to feed on eelgrass, but if that becomes unavailable due to ice, they’ll switch to sea lettuce that grows along the margins of the marsh. If the bay freezes and the ground is snow-covered, often they are caught by surprise and many will starve. But… why not just fly farther south? Why is the oriole I saw this morning hanging around here where the weather is suddenly cold and snowy? Why not just go? Anybody know?