Since our arrival on the Cutoff, I’ve grown familiar with his song, especially when he first arrives, before other songbirds appear. I know to look up to the tops of the ancient trees shading our deck, but, the orioles are hard to find. They are smaller than robins, stay closer to the tree canopies, and camouflage remarkably well considering their color.
Lately, I have heard more than one. The beau, it seems, has found his lady.
On Monday, we saw both. They were flitting above, fussing, in turn on a branch, high above the barn, building a nest, we supposed.
Have you ever seen a Baltimore Oriole? They are brilliant of color; he more vibrant orange than she, as is the nature of birds. Orioles build the most intricate of nests, resembling a sock or purse, impossible to find with the naked eye. We found one, once. Rather, it found us, after a windstorm, resting on the chaise lounge on the deck, it’s handles were gone but its cavity intact. Too damaged to mend, too precious to throw away, it nestles, each year, in our Christmas tree.
I had tossed some very ripe plums onto the unkempt hill we call our compost pile. Mostly leaves and flower clippings, coffee grounds and kitchen scraps find their way to the pile. Over time, we’ve harvested rich, organic matter from this pile that is enriching our soil here on the Cutoff. I was headed to the compost, my arms full of faded peonies, when I saw something dart out of the mound. Orange. A few days later, there were lemon rinds – and another flash of orange. Tom, too, had seen flashes of orange coming from the pile, which is near another mesh of twigs and the long stringy leaves of grasses; a virtual building supply store for the birds and creatures who occupy the Cutoff.
I want to talk to you about such piles of building material, but, will save that for another day. For now, I’ll leave you with a link about Baltimore Orioles, should you care to learn more or to listen to their songs, with a link here and I’ll ask you a question as well.
Do you have any songbirds near you?
The image is from the National Geographic site I’ve linked to, and, yes, I have used it before.