Sunday, May 08, 2005

Baltimore Oriole

Of all the bird arrivals in spring, the one that absolutely thrills me is that of the Baltimore Oriole. One day around the end of the first week in May, and this year it was today, when the flowering crabapples are hidden by blossoms, when the shade trees are newly clothed in a lush palette of different greens, and the clouds turn to fluffy white in a bright sky of blue, these brilliant orange birds, with inky black wings and head are heard whistling their sweet songs. It is quite amazing that they fly all the way from southern Mexico and Central America, yet arrive on almost the same day each year. Not only that, they all arrive at once. One day there are no orioles, the next it seems like male orioles are hanging from every tall tree, singing their absolutely distinctive, sweet lullabies. Their song is very distinct from other birds, and each oriole's song is slightly distinct from the other orioles singing nearby, though the commonest is a sweetly burbled "Look at me pretty-look-look". A few days later the females arrive, and then the real oriole show begins, with the males sitting on a limb in front of the female, bowing down and spreading their tail, raising their wings, and singing. What would the year be like without May, and what would May be without orioles? To borrow Samuel Johnson's line, show me a man who is tired of the oriole's song, and I'll show you a man who is tired of living.

We have but one in this neighborhood, and it nests in the neighbor's popular at the end of my drive.

Mine sings 'How ya doin' pretty girl' - or at least that's what I fancy I hear.

I had left him off my melancholy list of birds being left behind, and then he showed up and reminded me of his existance...
It always amazes me in early spring all of the oriole nests I can spot in the trees. We always have orioles in the area, but I can't always find the nests. I'm anxious for their return - one nice day and I'm listening!
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?