Saturday, July 24, 2010

'Twas a Bullock's Oriole

Since we have spent so much time watching and listening to birds during my prolonged period of staying at home and fighting cancer, and since we have trees and bushes that attract flocks and flocks of birds, we got a couple of Southern California bird books to try to identify some of the birds with which we were not familiar. Looking through them has led us to believe that the bird family we watched last summer and recorded in some blogs with such fascination was a Bullock's Oriole. They established a sack-like nest that looked to be made of excelsior-like straw, very light-colored, glued to the back of a palm frond in one of our front yard tall palm trees. The birds are bright yellow and black (a little white) and the female was almost as colorful as the male. We watched the parents sit on what we presumed must be eggs, then could hear chirping and saw the parents bring food apparently tirelessly. Finally we were able to see little beaks stick out of the nest and a few weeks later watched the chicks take their first flights. It was a fascinating experience, observed from the comfort of our front porch. We saw several of the adults flying around this year but didn't see a nest.

We know we have tons of house sparrows and mockingbirds and quite a few hummingbirds (haven't figured out which variety yet -- don't think it's in either book). Now we're finding jays and think we've seen a few starlings as well as mourning doves. It's always interesting to learn more. We bought a birdbath to attach to one of our fences and are deciding just where to put it. That should bring in a lot more birds to see close-up.

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