Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Orioles are Coming!‏

Birds we especially look forward to seeing during migration are the orioles, namely the Baltimore and Orchard orioles.  They are colorful and enjoy feeding on yard plantings with flowers and fruit.  Now in mid-April they have been arriving in our area of SW FL for about a week.   In addition to differences in color, note the different bill shapes in the two male orioles.  The orchard has a shorter and sharper bill that serves it well in piercing flowers to obtain nectar.  It is especially attracted to Cape honeysuckles and Turk's cap hibiscus but also eats fruit.  The Baltimore has a longer and heavier bill and feeds mainly on fruit in our yard, especially mulberries (white in this photo) and strangler figs.  These birds are streaming north, especially along river valleys, and will soon be arriving at our VA farm where they breed in our front yard in a huge maple tree.

Bill Dunson 

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