Saturday, March 21, 2015

MY Wintering Baltimore Orioles

You won't find this in The Kingbird (a New York State Avian Records Committee Publication). It is certainly not an extraordinary feat by any means when it comes to records in the city and overwintering birds. However, it is a significant record for my backyard and on a personal level a most satisfying achievement that I was able to keep two Baltimore Orioles happy through this winter of 2015. These birds should have been overwintering somewhere in Central or South America but they chose my backyard for what turned out to be a tough winter. The first Baltimore Oriole showed up on December 31st 2014 and the second bird showed on January 6th 2015, although I suspect it might have been there as early as the 4th since on that day I noticed a brighter bird and wondered if it was a different BAOR.

These two birds were not like my usual wintering backyard visitors like the expected White-throated Sparrows. They were royalty, deserving the type of high maintenance treatment for those special guests. And they certainly got that, keeping me on a tight schedule. Always ensuring that I kept their feeder well stocked with fruits and live meal worms.  It got to the point where they would chastise (chatter at me) me if I was late in refilling their feeder and I rather enjoy them flying right in and standing over my head whilst I refilled theirs and other feeders. The backyard birds for me hold a very special place as it was those visitors that rekindled a love for birds that was always there since my childhood.

Keeping those feeders well stocked, the bird bath clean all through winter requires commitment and well lets face it -- money (sacrificing those eat out joints helped). It is rewarding though when you have birds like Icterus galbula at the feeders on a day when it is snowing. How many people in NYC could boast that they enjoyed Baltimore Orioles all winter at their feeders? I bet not many. So, indulge me as I share or brag about these two fine birds who are still here but at some point will depart, no doubt leaving me a bit sad but happy that I was able to give something back to the birds that bring me such joy. My friend Sandra Paci, teased me that I have spoiled these two Baltimore Orioles but they won't forget my kindness. I hope she is right because I won't forget them either.

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Cynthia McWilliams said...

Wow! That is super!!


Thanks Cynthia, I have really enjoyed these two birds and worked hard at making sure they were well fed throughout the winter. Now that we are in the home stretch, I am happy to know they made it.