Friday, July 5, 2013

Orchard Orioles Nesting

Orchard Orioles are nesting now in the Twin Cities area.  I took these pictures yesterday, on July 4th, early in the morning. 

Orchard Orioles are closely related to Baltimore Orioles, in fact were considered the same species until recently.  The male Orchard Oriole is quite dark though, with a rusty red breast instead of bright orange and yellow like the more common Baltimore Oriole
 The female (and male) was busy catching food for the four hungry babies that were constantly calling for a meal.

She obviously does not have the black head color, or the rusty red of the male.
 Both adults were hunting in the low bushes and wildflowers in the prairie near the nest.  They had no trouble finding caterpillars, moths, and katy-dids for meals for their hungry brood.
 The nest is courser and more sturdy than the hanging nest of the Baltimore oriole, and made of grasses woven together.

They weave the living leaves into the nest as well, making it very difficult to see the adults and babies when they feed.  I had to stand on a ladder to get to the one opening that existed to see the young and adult at the same time.

 Here you can see this baby is ready to fledge, or leave the nest.  It is standing on the edge of the nest, and almost jumping out of the nest when the parents come with food.  It was actually off the nest on a branch once, but hopped back in.
The adults know that the babies are ready to fledge, and are beginning courtship behavoir for their 2nd nest of the summer.

Here the male has brought food for the female, and she has accepted it.  A few seconds later they were observed mating, and then he brought her food again.

I thought they would wait until a week or so after fledging occurred, but this suggests they will move right into a second nesting quite quickly.

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