Orange You Glad You Snapped

Kind of on a bird roll at the moment so figured I’d go ahead and crank one out while I had a few minutes to spare. Today’s bird was originally featured back during the Project Chekov days (link here). Back then I was actually focused on the male species of the Baltimore Oriole and if you will allow me the courtesy to say … utilizing some fairly crappy shots. Those were desperate times and if you recall what the project was all about (26 birds in 26 days in alphabetical order) beggars can’t be choosers. These shots of the less flashy gender are thankfully a little better.
Female Baltimore Oriole

As revealed by the line and loop, these shots were taken at one of my bird feeders. That feeder typically serves quite the collection of Golden Finches, Chickadees, Nuthatches and Cardinals. Every day I take a glance out the window to see if there are any new feathers taking a moment to fuel up (the feeders are positioned right outside my master bedroom so I can wake up and immediately see my feathered friends – it’s the little things in life that keeps me going). This particular specimen caught my attention. My eyes tried to dismiss it as a Finch, but the brian (sorry, running joke based on the large number of emails that come addressed as such) … correcting .. but the brain kept nagging at me. Not sure what the problem was at the time, I obeyed my birding principles and grabbed the Beast.

Female Baltimore Oriole

With it in the tin, I put the camera down and went about my business… for a year (he types apologetically). At least they eventually made their way to the digital darkroom. It became immediately apparent that this was no Finch based on the stature alone coming in at almost the twice the size of those small in size creatures. The yellow was off as well with this specimen having a darker/oranger (my blog, I get to make up words whenever I want to) variant of the bright yellow the Golden’s boast. A quick look at the references didn’t come up with a definitive match but had some leanings to a Meadowlark, which sports a similar dagger of a beak.

Hit the jump to see and read more about this sunshine bird.

Female Baltimore Oriole

A few more searches on the web had some similar reference shots, but in each one the yellowing didn’t seem right or they had more or no speckling on the side of their face. The barring on the wing would differ slightly as well. The deduction was this specimen was likely the female representation and my experience is reference books do a crappy job of showing all aspects of a birds categorization (adult male, adult female, juvi male, juvi female, seasonal palettes etc. – Stokes is probably the best at it). Changing tactics I looked for similar structure and came upon the Baltimore Oriole as a possibility. Now that the search was narrowed, the net was once again flipped through but this time looking for females of Orange colored birds.

Female Baltimore Oriole

Some close variations came back with the best match confirming the Baltimore option. There was only one thing to do now and that was to have Linda confirm it on that Facebooky thingy. It took like a whole 5 minutes for someone to come back and confirm this was indeed a female Baltimore Oriole. In a slight boost to the confidence the responder did mention there is a lot of variation in the females which accounts for the differences in the coloring and speckling.

Female Baltimore Oriole

One of the reason for the slight hesitation in accepting the initial Baltimore guess is that it was sitting on my bird feeder which is predominantly filled with sunflower seeds. No male Baltimore Oriole has ever even sniffed at the feeder much less LANDED on them. A male landed on my Hummingbird feeder once and one or two opted to fly through the woods at infrequent times. Beyond that, not much love for our place – muy sad.

Female Baltimore Oriole

She looks a little pissed in the shot above. Although it doesn’t look like it from the shots, there was seed still left in the feeder so that wasn’t the issue. Maybe it was constipated – that can make you grumpy. It is probably time to highlight some interesting facts about the Baltimore. For starters the Cornell site states they will ignore green grapes and yellow cherries even if they are in their tasty stages. Sorry for the lame fact, but most of the good stuff was used up in the previous post. This one is more interesting. Females get a deeper hue of orange with every molt to the point the older females … err sorry to offend, the more experienced females can take on the bright orange exhibited by males. Talk about making it easier to find women your own age compared to having to look for the childhood branding of the smallpox vaccination in my generation (if your date didn’t have it you were in the danger zone).

Female Baltimore Oriole

Cornell also reaffirms they are not really seed feeding birds preferring insects and fruits. If I get ambitious I might add an Oriole feeder to my grounds this spring/summer to see if we can attract a few more of these pretty birds. Hell, maybe I’ll hit the jackpot and they hate Blue Jays as much as I do hehehe.

Take care everyone, see you again in a bit.

8 thoughts on “Orange You Glad You Snapped”

  1. I know that Meadowlarks have a black triange on their neck–I see them at Springbrook Prairie. They are also quite large and have distinctive songs. I would not have known what this bird was, but it must have been young because of the acne.

    You can just put out a half of an orange to attract Orioles. Crazy birds.

    Orioles mostly fly between the tops of tall trees, but sometimes they hang around the grass. I’m sure I mentioned this on this blog before, but once my son Matthew and I were audibly ruing that we had not seen an Oriole as we were leaving a morning birding jaunt when a beautiful male Oriole landed on a wire fence next to us and posed for several shots.

    I’ll keep my eye out for a female Oriole next summer given my renewed interest in birding due to my new Nikon and lens.

    Ron

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  2. Sounds like I need to spend some time at Springbrook Prairie – Bobolinks and Meadowlarks – I think I did get a Meadowlark on my trip out to Vegas recently but it will be some time before I get to those … like a year ugh. How do you know that it takes only half an orange to attract them? I would think minimally a whole orange – one half to keep the ants busy and one half for the actual bird.

    Where are all these birding pictures located?

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  3. Those Oriole pictures were on print film–it was a number of years ago. Print film, film on paper, real mashed tree paper.

    I see a Meadowlark most times I go to Springbrook Prairie, and I used to see Bobolinks very often but now I take a path that is less prairie. I may have digital pics of those two birds from the last year or so, I’ll see. Meadowlarks are cool. You definitely have to come up to go birding–it’s a very good birding locale. In the early morning in spring or summer it’s an amazingly loud cacophony of songs.

    I caught your reference to taking pictures of Robins in your last comment on the previous post. Yes, as you know, I’m about to start all over again with a birding list from scratch on my Smugmug account ( http://www.rondoerflerphotography.com ), and last fall I got quite a few stares from people in the preserve as I carefully sneaked up on a Robin. Actually, I’m including my pictures from 2013 at the fabulous Florida lagoon, so the new life list really begins back then. I’ll start uploading the new pictures this weekend. I’m sure you can’t wait to see my Robin!

    Ron

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  4. I told Linda I was actually going to steal your idea (sorry, as I tell people over and over – mostly Dan) I mean embrace and extend the Smugmug birding list idea. I’m not willing to start over, but I can definitely go back and gather my best shots of each – trying to decide do I want the best shot, the best shot of each gender, each reference point (juvi, winter apparel, summer apparel…etc.) A lot of these pictures become my babies after experiencing the shoot, working them up in the digital darkroom and then writing up their post – makes it hard to pick just one. Are you thinking one Gallery with all the birds in it .. or segregate them out a bit with waterfowl, raptors etc.?

    unfortunately, Linda is going to demand I finish up some projects before starting a new one – still have Posey parts laying around, project Auuuurnold and a new one I hope to get done this weekend – I screwed up tonight on one part that set me back a bit – can’t wait to show it on the blog.

    Don’t let anyone bother you when taking bird pictures – I make sure I take at least one picture of anything I find with wings regardless of how many locals it pisses off. Can’t count the number of times that has resulted in a new unexpected check mark. When you start your new list you will need to come down hear and get all they Southern birds hehehehe

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  5. I’m going to start with one Smugmug gallery, and I will include photos of male, female, juvenile, maybe seasonal plumage for each bird as I acquire it. I have no problem including more than one shot for a bird if I have two or three or four that are cool. I don’t have hard requirements on this, and Smugmug gives me unlimited storage for my yearly fee.

    I’ll replace existing photos with better ones as I get them, so the gallery will represent the best bird shots I have since 2013. I’m also going to put the birds in alphabetical order. If the gallery becomes too big I guess I could split it into multiple galleries, but I have hundreds of photos in my two galleries now and it’s not hard at all to go through the sets of thumbnails of them, and as I say the birds will be in alphabetical order so it will be easy to find them quickly. I’ll add dates and locations in the descriptions.

    Since you have so many great bird shots, you may want to create separate galleries for your major categories of birds (waterfowl, raptors, brown birds, personal roadkills, hated species, etc.).

    Ron

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  6. … personal roadkills .. ummm, you must be talking about Linda’s collection (she even added a raccoon to her kill list this weekend). Oh, and if I recall correctly someone smacked a goose so hard it lost its head! I am going to “embrace” and hopefully ‘extend’ this idea in much the same manner as a certain Christmas House Stand idea Dan had (which I get maligned for constantly even after explaining all the extended elements that prevents it from being a copy. Not sure how to extend this idea yet, but I did have the concept of categorizing them and adding the multiple phases.

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  7. Never did find that goose’s head. A couple weeks later someone at work suggested that the head might be somewhere in my car engine compartment and so I had to open the hood and look for it, but it wasn’t there. Nothing like seeing a Canada Goose fly off the front of my car with it’s neck flapping wildly and nothing on the end of it. I did notice that the neck exhibited that wave-on-a-slinky effect with one end untied, where a wave reverses without turning upside down.

    Yes, you did come up with those concepts, which I have stolen outright, I mean extended. Meanwhile, I thought of two more bird categories for you: “birds that have attacked me” and “birds my wife has hit with a golf ball”.

    Ron

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