Bird Lady Blog

May 2, 2014

A Special Sighting – Bullock’s Oriole

Filed under: Birding,Birdwatchers,Munds Park Birding,Uncategorized — Munds Park Birding @ 3:35 pm
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Courtesy of Gordon Karre

Courtesy of Gordon Karre

A few days ago I received an e-mail from a very excited Munds Park resident about a new visitor to her bird bath.  Martha, who lives on Reindeer Drive, had a male Bullock’s Oriole visit her birdbath on July 11th.  Needless to say, she was thrilled because 1) it is such a striking, beautiful, brightly-colored bird, and 2) all the effort she has put into making her yard bird-friendly paid off for yet another species – and this one quite special indeed.

If you are from the Midwest, you may have heard of the Baltimore Oriole.  Actually if you are a professional baseball fan, then for sure you have heard of the “Baltimore Orioles” team out in Maryland.  But not too many people have heard of the Bullock’s Oriole (no pro-sports team named after it!), yet it is found throughout the western U.S. in habitats such as deciduous and riparian woodlands, parks, and towns.  I’m guessing ours was passing through because this is the first reported sighting I’ve heard of, and based on my research I think we are at too high of an elevation to have it as a regular.  I went into my “Birders Life List and Diary” where I record my sightings and saw that the first Bullock’s Oriole I ever noted was in 1990, in Cuyamaca, California.  I also have a sighting from the Salt River area in the Valley from 1998, and another in Escondido, California.

Just how did Martha get so lucky to have this bird in her yard?  Well, it’s is by no means only luck, because the “secret sauce” is comprised of her two bird baths, complete with drippers.  She reports that her bird-watching has improved dramatically since adding the drippers, which hook onto the side of her bird bath.  She purchased them through Wild Birds Unlimited in Scottsdale.  I live about one mile from that location and did not even know WBU had moved into the neighborhood!  Martha has a great bird-bath setup and in addition to the very special Bullock’s Oriole, she has many of our regular residents:  Western Tanagers, Black-Headed Grosbeaks, Lesser Goldfinch, Nuthatches, American Robins, and on and on, all attracted by that dripping water.

I am happy to report that the male Ruddy Duck has been seen regularly this season at the Pinewood Country Club Golf Course pond between Hole 1 and 18.  There may be a female with it – we are not sure – but I can assure you that if we get ducklings, my golfer/birder friends will let me know in an instant!  We have not seen any Yellow-Headed Blackbirds, probably because the habitat is not right this year.  And last but not least, the two hatched Yellow-Eyed Juncos reported by Bill and Corrine “flew the flower pot” so to speak and left the nest in it empty.  This was the nest that originally had four eggs, was raided by a Stellar’s Jay, and ended up with two baby birds that successfully fledged.


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