Sunday, May 28, 2017

Baltimore Oriole

                  A female Baltimore Oriole darts across the sky in search of special nesting material.

                      There's no counting the number of trips she's made to make her nest just right.

She has been working for maybe a week now.

First, the support strands were woven with stringlike material such as vine, grasses and even fishing line. Next, fibers like wool and horsehair gave it the typical oriole pouch-like shape.

It's now time to add a soft lining of plant material, feathers, and even manmade materials such as cellophane.

The male Baltimore Oriole will occasionally supply building materials to her, but she alone does all the construction work.

The male's job is protection of the home territory, which, surprisingly, is quite small compared to other birds.

Protection and providing food to the nestlings are his main functions.

That, and looking pretty.

The nest dangles at a hard to reach branch end for safety from ferrel cats and natural predators.

It's important to be comfortable for two weeks of sitting on 3-7 eggs.

Spring is a busy season and her only opportunity to raise a clutch this year. So her work continues relentlessly. Trip after trip she gathers tiny additions of featherweight material.

With luck, there will be more baby Baltimore Orioles in 2017.

Credit: Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds