Friday, December 14, 2012

Oriole at the feeder

Baltimore Oriole eating suet -- photo by DAVID SPEISER 12/12/11

Amy Simmons writes [via eBirds NYC]:

I sneaked in a bit of afternoon birding in CP today after hearingWhite-winged Crossbills had been spotted in the sweet gum trees just south of the "humming tombstone" in the Ramble (thank you, Deb Allen). Not 
seeing them on my first pass, I made my way to the feeders and among the usual suspects saw one "odd" bird which was feeding from the suet cake. It quickly flew off before I could get a good look but it gave me the
impression of an oriole. Fortunately, the bird returned a short time later and I got better looks: Longish, black bill and black eye. Dark head and back but orange-yellow below, extending from throat to tip of tail. Two distinct  white wing bars. It was significantly larger than the various finches and titmice - approximately the size of a  nearby cardinal. I feel onfident it was a Baltimore Oriole, but not sure of the age and sex as it seemed to resemble both the female and immature male, depending on which picture/book I compared it with.

On my way out of the Ramble, I made another swing by the sweet gum tree and ran into Deb and stopped to try again. This time, I got lucky: 2 beautiful males. Overall, a bright reddish-pink with dark wings with two bright white wingbars. No streaking. Although they were high in the tree, the light was excellent and the crossed bill was visible.