Bird watching – flagrant voyeurism

A huge wild cherry tree near our house broke into full bloom around the middle of May. 


Baltimore Oriole coupleSo 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.

male oriole with food by nest

He then hopped on the opening of the nest and may have been feeding his wife sitting on her eggs.

male on top of nest

However, every once in a while, the missus was out and about herself and managed to catch a big, fat caterpillar here:

female oriole with caterpillar

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.

About Beauty Along the Road

A blog about discovering beauty in all its ordinary and extraordinary manifestations.
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16 Responses to Bird watching – flagrant voyeurism

  1. Thank you Annette, now I know the name of those beautiful birds , I see in my neighborhood. How exciting that they build a nest close to you, so you can watch the family life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. cindy knoke says:

    If you wanted to be an even more extreme voyeur, and helpful to the birdies to boot, you could order an oriole feeder, cheap, from amazon, it will be orange to attract them, and have spaces for grape jelly, which you need to buy at the grocery store. Grape Jelly is like non harmful, actually helpful, crack cocaine to orioles. They can’t resist it.
    Then you would be able to observe their amazing social interactions, close up, which you are going to have to google to understand.
    Bird watching of this sort, which is not normal bird watching, is sort of like sociology of birds, and by such easy extension, people.


    • Is it legal to be a crack cocaine distributor for the orioles? 🙂 Do you use grape jelly on a feeder for them? I would be afraid of attracting the same bear that recently raided our porch and vicinity….


  3. shoreacres says:

    I think that a cut orange, secured somewhere, also would attract them. I know that they’re fruit feeders, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge. Lucky you to have them! They only pass through my area, and I’ve only seen one in my life, during migration time.


  4. Lovely post Annette. I’m glad the orioles have graced your yard for you to watch and enjoy. Happy birdwatching!


  5. Orioles are such beautiful birds. It’s great that you have them right there to study and enjoy. When we moved into our home there were several weeping willows and orioles would build their little baskets in the branches. Unfortunately, we had to remove the trees as they were dropping branches and were close to the house. But for a few years we could enjoy them too. Thanks for bringing them back to mind.


  6. Us voyeurs do the best photos and text,eh?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lovely photos! Baltimore Orioles are so bright and beautiful, and it is fun to see the photos of them being a family. Thanks!


  8. Reblogged this on The Beauty Along the Road and commented:

    When I saw the first Baltimore Oriole today, I fondly remembered the oriole couple that built a nest near our house two years ago. I hope today’s visitor will decide to bring his wife and stay!


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