Thursday, May 1, 2008

Just Birds Today

All kinds of cool bird sightings the last couple's almost like some sort of migration gate was opened and all of a sudden, they're here!

Yesterday I spotted my first Baltimore Oriole early in the afternoon. Since 2002, when I started keeping a bird/nature diary, this was the earliest I've ever seen the Baltimore Oriole in my yard. I quickly put a couple dishes of grape jelly out in the backyard, and even though I haven't seen him since, I know he'll be back. (2 pictures, just because I love the color of this bird!)

Today I was even more surprised to see this Orchard Oriole at the grape jelly dish when I got home from work. wow, Wow, WOW!! I haven't seen an Orchard Oriole in my yard for many years. He loved the grape jelly and it would be awesome if he decided to stay for the summer (and maybe find a mate). I took a couple pictures so you could appreciate his handsomeness from the front:

and from the back:

While I was watching the oriole, I noticed another large bird fly into the oak tree nearby -- Rose Breasted Grosbeak! Holy moly! Again, he was earliest recorded in my yard--May 6th was the earliest recorded date previously (2007).

I also noticed some different looking sparrows out by the tray feeder. I guess it's pretty obvious why this little guy is called White Crowned Sparrow.

Our weatherman is predicting some heavy rain and storms for the next couple of days, so I hope all these migrating birds are able to deal with the weather issues OK. I do know one thing for soon as it stops raining, I have a date with John Deere in the backyard!

P.S. While I was writing this post, my sissy called me to report that she also spotted Indigo Buntings, a House Wren and a Hummingbird in her yard this afternoon, so I've got to whip up a batch of hummingbird nectar this evening.


jan m said...

Cool birds must migrate together!

Ruth said...

What food does the Rose-breasted Grosbeak prefer? I had a pair stop by for 5 days last May and they liked niger seed. But the perch on the finch feeder was really too small for them. I love the Orioles! I have only seen them on trails along the river. Is that your wild grape jelly?? Or is Welches fine. ;-)

Mary said...

OK, enough is enough. I didn't even read this before I whined tonight. I'm cheering for you, dear Ruthie :o)

Anonymous said...

Between you and your sister, I'll have to spend a lot of time looking out the patio doors and the front window just to see all these birds. The Red Headed Woodpecker was back today and on the suet log, they are so beautiful. I have to keep on practicing with my new digital camera taking bird pictures.

cindy said...

Ruthie, We had first of the year Orioles and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks here today, too!! Was in your area this morning and eary afternoon. We had Mom at Mayo for a couple of tests. Thought of you as we passed a dead turkey on the highway by Byron. I sure would hate to hit one of those things with a car! Enjoy spring!

Larry said...

I haven't seen an Oriole or Rose-breasted Grosbeak yet.-Great photos ruthie-especially of the oriole near the corn.-Glad you're getting some action out there.

Jayne said...

Wow Ruthie! Lucky you!!! I still haven't seen the male Rose-breasted yet, and the Indigo Bunting only came once. What a great day you had!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Jan,
I think I'd better make some time to get out birding this weekend--there's no telling what other cool birds I might see!

Hi Ruth,
RB Grosbeaks (like Evening Grosbeaks & cardinals) will also eat black sunflower and safflower seeds. You're right about the perches though--because they are such big birds, it's easier for them to eat seed from a tray or fly-thru feeder.
I've heard some people claim that their orioles only eat Welch's, but this one was eating Smuckers and when the other orioles arrive and I'm going through lots of jelly, I get it at the Dollar Store and they eat that just fine too.

Thanks Mare! Don't be jealous--I'm jealous of your lizards, toads, and snakes (I never see ANYTHING like that in my yard!)

Hi Mom,
We have to figure out how to download your pictures to e-mail so I can post them on my blog for you (don't let me forget that I have some suet plugs for your log too).

Hi Cindy,
Do you keep track of your spring arrivals? Is this early for you too?
I hope all went well at the Clinic this morning.
Those turkeys can do alot of damage when they hit a car--especially windshields!

Hi Larry,
I think that poor oriole was looking for the grape jelly, but I had to look twice too just to make sure he wasn't pecking on the corn!

Hi Jayne,
I was so surprised to see all those birds too. I'm fortunate to get home from work so early in the afternoon and have time to watch birds (unfortunately, I didn't get much else done yesterday!)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Our Orioles don't eat grape jelly or orange slices. I wonder what is wrong with them.??

Anonymous said...

The orioles in my yard have always eaten "dollar store" grape jelly. And they stay all summer and nest, too! Maybe the mealworms help to keep them happy. As I'm writing this, the little wren is singing his heart out. It has always amazed me that such a tiny bird can sing so LOUD! Gotta love spring in Minnesota....
Your Sissy

Richard said...

Migration door open here also. Thought I'd maybe get a bird that you didn't have but it seems we got about the same birds on the same day.

Richard said...

My Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are eating from the woodpecker bar. Only place I've seen them.

me and my camera said...

How happy I am to read of providing Grape Jelly for Baltimore Orioles! I will be sure to try that when I see my first Oriole at my feeders this year. Its really great to pick up fededing tips like that. We don't get the Orchard Oriole but how nice to see its picture on your posting.

Anonymous said...

What a great shot of the Baltimore Oriole! We don't see many of them where I live, so anytime I see those bright orange birds is a really fun discovery.

Marsha said...

Wow Ruthie! I thought they didn't come until May. It looks like I better get the jelly on my shopping list. If Richard has them this far north it will be soon, I hope. Then I read your sister has wrens...I just love migration TIME!

I love the bright coloring of the Baltimore orioles too and we are lucky to have nesting pairs each summer.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Lisa,
Mine never cared for oranges or nectar either. But they always go for the grape jelly and once the others have returned I'll start putting mealworms out for them too--they really LOVE those worms!

Hi Sissy,
And since we waited SOOOOO long for spring, it's much more appreciated this year!

Hi Richard,
It's good to know that many folks in Minnesota are finally having spring.

Hi M&MC,
I used to only put nectar out for the orioles and then when I had my job at Wild Birds Unlimited, I found out about grape jelly too. But all orioles are different, so you might have to experiment with yours (house finches will like the grape jelly too, if you have those little birds).

Hi Scienceguy,
Thanks for stopping by my blog and I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures. I love that brilliant orange color of the Baltimore Orioles too.

Hi Marsha,
I was so surprised too because it was still April. I just figured the weather had been too rotten for them to get here this early. I hope yours arrive soon!

Windyridge said...

Orioles are gorgeous and I love theri calls. I didn't know about rh grape jelly. I will have to try that.

Mel said...

Your visitors are so handsome!

mon@rch said...

How wonderful having these guys visiting your back yard! i have yet to see any orioles or white-crowned sparrows this year!

Mary C said...

Hi Ruthie - wow! such beautiful, colorful birds! I've never seen either the hooded or the Baltimore, but I did see once or twice a Bullock's visit one of my hummingbird feeders. That's was a several years ago. I'm always hopeful to see another one stop by; I think I'll try putting out some jelly. BTW, I love your animated "knitting" avatar. That's so cool!

Julie said...

Question, do you have any problems with ants finding your jelly?

Debbie said...

Hi Ruthie!
Wonderful bird photos. They are all so gorgeous. I don't think I've ever seen an Orchard Oriole before.

I look forward to reading your blog. I discovered through Mary's View.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Windyridge,
My Baltimore Oriole was back today and starting to sing. They have a great song.
I've only heard of orioles eating only grape jelly (no other flavors seem to attract them).

Thank you Mel--I love all these bright colors for spring.

Hi Mon@rch,
It's amazing how quickly I've forgotten about winter now that the spring arrivals are here!

Hi Mary C,
I hope your oriole comes back this year too--maybe some grape jelly will do the trick. Another hint is to put it in a bright orange dish and out in the open where the color of the dish will catch your oriole's eye. Good luck!

Hi Julie,
Yes, ants are a problem, but there are some ways to control them (a good idea for a future blog post)

Hi Debbie,
Welcome and thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos.