Friday, May 3, 2013

Beautiful Bullock's Orioles and Western Kingbirds

This Bullock's Oriole landed on my hummingbird feeder with a "thunk," and kept looking around - I wonder what he was thinking.  Or waiting for?  He was there for a while.  This is the order of the photos taken:

I remember when the first Bullock's Oriole landed on this feeder.  It was late afternoon and the sun was streaming in through the window.  It was hot inside The Palms, so I had closed the shade down almost to the bottom of the feeder.  Suddenly, "Thunk," and I looked over and saw the bottom of the feeder with this big yellow tail hanging down.  And that, for sure, was not a hummingbird!  Of course, I jumped up with my camera, slowly tried to raise the shade and he flew off.  Rats!  But you always have more chances in this life - right? - and all these photos are proof of that.

And then he looked right at me before he flew off.

My own personal Angry Bird!  :)

Later while taking a walk, I looked up and discovered there were lots of nests in the Cottonwood trees.  They looked like the Bullock's Oriole nests I saw at Pancho Villa State Park, and I think the Western Kingbird that was hanging around this nest was maybe trying to use it?


This bird appeared to be guarding this nest, and didn't go very from from it.  I thought maybe this was his nest, but it's not the type of nest Kingbirds make.

Can you see the fishing line that was used to attach this nest to the tree?

He sure was trying to get inside.

If you look at the bottom of the nest on the right side, you'll see another bird's head and tail. :)

He seemed a little large for the nest, but could sit on the edge of it.

I thought it was strange this bird seemed so interested in an Oriole's nest - I know some nests are re-used by different kinds of birds, but this nest is so different than the ones Kingbirds construct.  Did he want to use it for his own nest?  I think that's exactly what this nesting couple is doing.

This photo taken the same day but in the crook of a tree looks like it might be the nest of another Western Kingbird from what I learned through on-line research:

A Western Kingbird's nest?

They build their nests with grass, twigs, leaves, and other materials they find - like string, paper, thread and fabric or wool pieces.  They line the nests with the cotton material from the Cottonwood trees, feathers, and other soft materials.

I did a lot of research on-line, and did find one photo from Se Etta Moss in Canon City, CO that was an Oriole's nest used by a Western Kingbird.  Their nest that was on a pole had blown down, and they took over this nest.  You can see the eye and beak and white throat of the Kingbird as well as her tail sticking out on the left side.  I didn't notice the bird itself until I read the text and really looked.

Can you see the bird?  It's lying on it's back. Is that a cool photo, or what?   I wondered how the Western Kingbird would fit in the Bullock's Orioles' nest - and here's the answer.  A good example of "a photo is worth a thousand words" as well as "where there's a will, there's a way."

This is another nest here in the park with the fishing line more visible.  It's nice to see the old filament line that sloppy fishermen leave behind being used for something positive:

Look at all that fishing line!

 From me and Katie, have a great Friday, everyone!  :)


  1. Whew, I was afraid it was a nest raider. So glad to hear that it's just moving in instead.

  2. Good work. The photos are very interesting.

  3. Oh, what great pictures!!! I would never have your eye for photography, Judy, and you've probably been asked and answered this question before, but what kind of camera do you have. The clarity is incredible. Thanks for sharing. Pats to Katie.

  4. Well, Jack - the camera might be difficult for a dog to handle, but it's pretty simple for a human. :)

    I use a Nikon Coolpix S9100. It has a 18x wide zoom lens, so I can get up pretty close without disturbing the critters.

    And, ooops, I'm Barbara. Judy is the Real Bird Lady who takes fantastic photos and is an expert on birds. I take the photos, then go back and get out the Field Guide to ID them. Don't worry about it, though, you're not the first to call me Judy. I wish I had her knowledge!

  5. I so enjoyed your pictures of the birds and the interesting nests. I bet that oriole is thinking, "Where's the seed?"

  6. You did a great job getting those pictures!

  7. I so agree....what wonderful pictures! I do love all the information about the's so interesting and I'm always learning something!

  8. Oh, they ARE all beautiful! We used to have a family of orioles in our backyard cottonwood for years, but I haven't seen or heard them for a couple of years. LOVE the photos! Last spring we had some grosbeaks. I'm going to clean bird feeders today and buy some seed and nectar! :-)
    ~~Cheryl Ann~~

  9. Okay, another question...did you take these photos from inside your house, through your window? Or, were you outside?
    ~~Cheryl Ann~~

  10. Your bird pics and descriptions are very educational for someone like me who is not well versed on birds. Thanks

  11. Cheryl Ann, I take photos through my windows, all of them - kitchen, windshield and both sides - and also outside. I always bring my camera when Katie and I are walking and that's when I got the nest photos. Usually the window shots turn out pretty well, as long as I'm close enough. :)

  12. Oh, thank you for that info! I just read your post about the skunk...was that the one bitten by the rattlesnake? And, it lived?
    Cheryl Ann

  13. Unfortunately, I do not think old fishing line being used in this way is useful or good for the birds. Can you imagine those tiny babies getting tangled up in that nasty stuff? I HATE fishermen who leave that laying around. It's so bad for the environment. I have been known to remove it from nests.

    Great pictures today. I sure hope the poor little skunk can recover. He needs someone to give him water and food. Too bad he left the area.


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