A huge wild cherry tree near our house broke into full bloom around the middle of May.
So when I saw a pair of Baltimore Orioles cavorting in its branches, I thought they were eating the cherry blossoms. In the past, I’ve caught only glimpses of these orioles, a rare sight in the spring. But now I started seeing them every day. The flashes of bright orange yellow through the spring green canopy were easy to spot.
The more I watched the pair, the more I wondered why they seemed to return to the same place in the tree, the edge of some hanging branches. The aha moment was thrilling…they were building a nest!
This is no ordinary nest! It is large and spacious, a woven sack suspended from the cherry tree branches. I had seen a nest like this on someone else’s property before. For years, I kept looking for one on my property, without success. And just like that, a nest was materializing before my very eyes, in viewing distance from my front porch. The gods had granted me my wish.
About a week later, as the cherry blossoms were way past their prime, I mostly saw the male flitting back and forth while the female must have started laying her eggs. Here you can see the male with food in its beak sitting close to the nest.
He then hopped on the opening of the nest and may have been feeding his wife sitting on her eggs.
However, every once in a while, the missus was out and about herself and managed to catch a big, fat caterpillar here:
One morning, as I sipped my coffee on the porch, I saw a small bird chasing a larger bird of prey. Through my binoculars, I recognized the male oriole who defended his territory against a potential nest robber. He was brave and fierce, dive bombing the much larger bird…and victorious in chasing the other bird away.
Watching this pair of orioles construct their home and defend it against would-be invaders has been a true gift. It made me think of all the work and effort that we invested in building our home, our own cozy nest, and how privileged we are to be enjoying its comforts and safety….along with the front seat voyeur’s view of the wildlife around us.