Apples & Oranges

Last year, the first bird that I saw when I was finally able to travel around our property in a golf cart was an incredibly lovely, yellow female Orchard Oriole. At the time, I didn’t know what it was, and needed some help identifying it. That same late afternoon, we spotted the deep bronze colored male of the same species clinging to dried reeds. I never assumed they were the same species. That experienced began my desire to travel around the farm in search of other bird species and to learn more about them.

I took one, horribly blurry photo of a male Baltimore Oriole last fall. It’s a good thing the species has such unique coloring, or I would have never known what it was based on the poor quality of the image. While Baltimore Orioles are fairly common visitors to those who provide orange slices and grape jelly lures, I had tried and failed in that venture. But, this year I offered the sweet treats on a ledge in my office patio and the next day – TaDah! – a pair of the B orioles arrived. I shot these photos through glass windows, on a dreary and rainy day.

I had read that the Orchard Orioles were less likely to visit backyard offerings than the Baltimore species, so I thought that I might be able to attract them by placing sliced oranges out in the areas where I first saw them, last year. One of those spots was near the corridor, which is a mowed path between a long-overgrown yard and what was once a paddock now overgrown with grasses, shrubs and a stand of volunteer maple trees. At the end of the corridor is an apple tree.

Last autumn, after we harvested the low hanging fruits, the birds were able to feast on the sweet apples at the top of the tree. Once those fruits were gone, I hung store-bought apples lower on the tree where I could film the birds that were coming in for a snack. I captured Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Gray Catbirds, House Finches and a few other birds during that time. I knew it was a good spot for seeing birds, as the corridor and the alleyway meet at the apple tree and those two mowed paths seem to provide flight paths for many species of birds.

While citrus doesn’t grow in my neck of the woods, especially not on apple trees, I chose to hang some mandarin oranges in the apple tree at the opening to the corridor. The results were truly fun to watch. Enjoy!

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Gray Catbird

Tufted Titmouse

Baltimore Oriole (female)

Orchard Oriole (first year male)

The bird isn’t in great focus, but to make up for that you are offered the song of a Gray Catbird in the background – quite melodious and compelling.

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