The orioles are back! Horray!
Growing up on Orcas Island in Washington State, we did not have orioles. We had many of the same birds we have here in Southwest Minnesota: Gold Finches, robins, Barn Swallows, crows, chickadees, flickers, Red-Winged Blackbirds, seagulls (though different gulls than we have here on the prairie), and plenty of Bald Eagles, but not orioles. We had other birds too, of course, but those ones were the most common. Or, at least, those ones are the ones I can remember!
When I first moved to northwestern Wisconsin – just east of Duluth – I fell in love with the orioles. I’d sit in my bedroom with the window open in the evenings and listen to their marvelous singing. I also fell in love with Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks and renewed my love for Cedar Waxwings, a bird I’d first met in my college ornithology class – one of my favorite college classes, incidentally.
Then when we moved out to the country down here in SW Minnesota, I was able to continue my infatuation with orioles…a thing which made me very happy indeed…at least for a few months out of the year!
Last year we had at least 5 pairs of orioles at our grape-jelly-filled pie pan. This year I’m not sure we have that many, but I have also seen some Orchard Orioles, which always makes me happy!
I see the waxwings here too – though not at the jelly – but not very often especially since we had to trim off the dead branches that were too near the house but that they loved to sit on. And as for the grosbeaks, for some reason they don’t like me very much. I’ve seen cardinals, but only just passing through. Last year I had a small flock of Eastern Bluebirds for a few days and yesterday I am virtually positive that I saw a gorgeous Indigo Bunting on the deck.
Last fall – several times – I saw an albino Junco – that was SO COOL.
Sadly, I never got a picture, as it never stayed longer than a few seconds, mores the pity.
Since being in the country I have also become a huge fan of the Brown Thrasher. What a silly name for such a wonderful bird. I videotaped one singing once. Marvelous.
One of my favorite warm-weather activities is to sit out on the deck (okay, “activity” is a relative term) with a good book and a cup of coffee and the birds. However, they don’t always appreciate my presence, as evidenced by the following monologue:
FUSS FUSSSSS FUSS FUSS FUSS. Fuss. Fuss. Eat. Swallow. Fuss. Eat. Swallow. Eat. Swallow. FUSS. Fly AWAY…then come back and do it again.
Song birds: God’s gift to an all-too-often unhappy world.