Thursday, January 24, 2008

Orchard Oriole: NOT

The bird I blithely reported in its appearance in Union Square Park yesterday turned out to be a BIG DEAL BIRD: a Scott's Oriole, a species that has never before been reported in New York State--or, in fact, anywhere nearby. Here it is as it was seen by huge numbers of birders in the park today -- even me.

Photo of Scott's Oriole taken on Jan. 24m 2008 by David Speiser. A link for more oriole pix by Speiser:

Many of Central Park's best birders were in Union Square Park to view this unusual bird Among them was Lloyd Spitalnik who wrote on the Metro Birding Briefs listserv:

Hi all,
Just arrived home after viewing and photographing the bird for the last several hours. I'll try to put some photos on my website by this evening. [see link below]

Based on today's behavior, I think the best strategy is to wait in one place and let the bird come to you. You can stand either, outside the park on B'way just north of 14th St. looking east or in the park looking west. There is a fenced off area where holly trees and some viburnum are and the bird comes back to these trees and shrubs about every 10-15 minutes. Some birders have brought in orange halves but I never saw the bird go to them. Instead, it sometimes fed on a Kaiser roll. It was also going to sapsucker tracks (the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is there) and at times was eating berries from the holly tree. Good luck if you go. This is a very exciting bird to have in NYC.

Lloyd Spitalnik

Also there today was Bob Paxton, a noted historian, a well-known birder and former president of the Linnaean Society. He wrote:

Quoting Jaramillo & Burke (1999) *New World
Blackbirds, The Icterids*: "Scott's Oriole is prone to
vagrancy, both to the north and the northeast as an

For the record, last winter an adult male Scott's Oriole was at a
Mechanicsburg, PA, feeder for a first state record in February-March
2007 and an adult female Audubon's Oriole was at a feeder in Jefferson
Co., Indiana in January-February 2007. There were no previous US
records for this species north of Texas. Pictures in North American
Birds 61:2 (winter season 2006-2007), pp. 364 and 365.

Bob Paxton

UPDATE: just posted on e-birds:

As of 4:00PM today (Jan 24) the bird was still in the SW corner of the Park and being very cooperative.

Wayne Mones