Some Unlikely Relatives – Chapter 12

Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) by J Fenton

Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) by J Fenton

Some Unlikely Relatives

The Cowbird and the Baltimore Oriole.

The Burgess Bird Book For Children

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Listen to the story read.

CHAPTER 12. Some Unlikely Relatives.

Having other things to attend to, or rather having other things to arouse his curiosity, Peter Rabbit did not visit the Old Orchard for several days. When he did it was to find the entire neighborhood quite upset. There was an indignation meeting in progress in and around the tree in which Chebec and his modest little wife had their home. How the tongues did clatter! Peter knew that something had happened, but though he listened with all his might he couldn’t make head or tail of it.

Finally Peter managed to get the attention of Jenny Wren. “What’s happened?” demanded Peter. “What’s all this fuss about?”

Jenny Wren was so excited that she couldn’t keep still an instant. Her sharp little eyes snapped and her tail was carried higher than ever. “It’s a disgrace! It’s a disgrace to the whole feathered race, and something ought to be done about it!” sputtered Jenny. “I’m ashamed to think that such a contemptible creature wears feathers! I am so!”

“But what’s it all about?” demanded Peter impatiently. “Do keep still long enough to tell me. Who is this contemptible creature?”

Sally Sly,” snapped Jenny Wren. “Sally Sly the Cowbird. I hoped she wouldn’t disgrace the Old Orchard this year, but she has. When Mr. and Mrs. Chebec returned from getting their breakfast this morning they found one of Sally Sly’s eggs in their nest. They are terribly upset, and I don’t blame them. If I were in their place I simply would throw that egg out. That’s what I’d do, I’d throw that egg out!”

Peter was puzzled. He blinked his eyes and stroked his whiskers as he tried to understand what it all meant. “Who is Sally Sly, and what did she do that for?” he finally ventured.

Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) being raised by a Reed Warbler©WikiC

Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) being raised by a Reed Warbler©WikiC

“For goodness’ sake, Peter Rabbit, do you mean to tell me you don’t know who Sally Sly is?” Then without waiting for Peter to reply, Jenny rattled on. “She’s a member of the Blackbird family and she’s the laziest, most good-for-nothing, sneakiest, most unfeeling and most selfish wretch I know of!” Jenny paused long enough to get her breath. “She laid that egg in Chebec’s nest because she is too lazy to build a nest of her own and too selfish to take care of her own children. Do you know what will happen, Peter Rabbit? Do you know what will happen?”

A Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis) chick being fed by a Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia Capensis)

A Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis) chick being fed by a Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia Capensis)

Peter shook his head and confessed that he didn’t. “When that egg hatches out, that young Cowbird will be about twice as big as Chebec’s own children,” sputtered Jenny. “He’ll be so big that he’ll get most of the food. He’ll just rob those little Chebecs in spite of all their mother and father can do. And Chebec and his wife will be just soft-hearted enough to work themselves to skin and bone to feed the young wretch because he is an orphan and hasn’t anybody to look after him. The worst of it is, Sally Sly is likely to play the same trick on others. She always chooses the nest of some one smaller than herself. She’s terribly sly. No one has seen her about. She just sneaked into the Old Orchard this morning when everybody was busy, laid that egg and sneaked out again.”

“Did you say that she is a member of the Blackbird family?” asked Peter.

Jenny Wren nodded vigorously. “That’s what she is,” said she. “Thank goodness, she isn’t a member of MY family. If she were I never would be able to hold my head up. Just listen to Goldy the Oriole over in that big elm. I don’t see how he can sing like that, knowing that one of his relatives has just done such a shameful deed. It’s a wierd thing that there can be two members of the same family so unlike. Mrs. Goldy builds one of the most wonderful nests of any one I know, and Sally Sly is too lazy to build any. If I were in Goldy’s place I—”

“Hold on!” cried Peter. “I thought you said Sally Sly is a member of the Blackbird family. I don’t see what she’s got to do with Goldy the Oriole.”

“You don’t, eh?” exclaimed Jenny. “Well, for one who pokes into other people’s affairs as you do, you don’t know much. The Orioles and the Meadow Larks and the Grackles and the Bobolinks all belong to the Blackbird family. They’re all related to Redwing the Blackbird, and Sally Sly the Cowbird belongs in the same family.”

Peter gasped. “I—I—hadn’t the least idea that any of these folks were related,” stammered Peter.

“Well, they are,” retorted Jenny Wren. “As I live, there’s Sally Sly now!”

Creaker the Purple Grackle, The Male Cowbird - Burgess Bird Book ©©

Creaker the Purple Grackle, The Male Cowbird – Burgess Bird Book ©©

Peter caught a glimpse of a brownish-gray bird who reminded him somewhat of Mrs. Redwing. She was about the same size and looked very much like her. It was plain that she was trying to keep out of sight, and the instant she knew that she had been discovered she flew away in the direction of the Old Pasture. It happened that late that afternoon Peter visited the Old Pasture and saw her again. She and some of her friends were busily walking about close to the feet of the cows, where they seemed to be picking up food. One had a brown head, neck and breast; the rest of his coat was glossy black. Peter rightly guessed that this must be Mr. Cowbird. Seeing them on such good terms with the cows he understood why they are called Cowbirds.

Sure that Sally Sly had left the Old Orchard, the feathered folks settled down to their personal affairs and household cares, Jenny Wren among them. Having no one to talk to, Peter found a shady place close to the old stone wall and there sat down to think over the surprising things he had learned. Presently Goldy the Baltimore Oriole alighted in the nearest apple-tree, and it seemed to Peter that never had he seen any one more beautifully dressed. His head, neck, throat and upper part of his back were black. The lower part of his back and his breast were a beautiful deep orange color. There was a dash of orange on his shoulders, but the rest of his wings were black with an edging of white. His tail was black and orange. Peter had heard him called the Firebird, and now he understood why. His song was quite as rich and beautiful as his coat.

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) ©USFWS

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) ©USFWS

Shortly he was joined by Mrs. Goldy. Compared with her handsome husband she was very modestly dressed. She wore more brown than black, and where the orange color appeared it was rather dull. She wasted no time in singing. Almost instantly her sharp eyes spied a piece of string caught in the bushes almost over Peter’s head. With a little cry of delight she flew down and seized it. But the string was caught, and though she tugged and pulled with all her might she couldn’t get it free. Goldy saw the trouble she was having and cutting his song short, flew down to help her. Together they pulled and tugged and tugged and pulled, until they had to stop to rest and get their breath.

“We simply must have this piece of string,” said Mrs. Goldy. “I’ve been hunting everywhere for a piece, and this is the first I’ve found. It is just what we need to bind our nest fast to the twigs. With this I won’t have the least bit of fear that that nest will ever tear loose, no matter how hard the wind blows.”

Eurasian Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus) Nest ©WikiC

Eurasian Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus) Nest ©WikiC

Once more they tugged and pulled and pulled and tugged until at last they got it free, and Mrs. Goldy flew away in triumph with the string in her bill. Goldy himself followed. Peter watched them fly to the top of a long, swaying branch of a big elm-tree up near Farmer Brown’s house. He could see something which looked like a bag hanging there, and he knew that this must be the nest.

“Gracious!” said Peter. “They must get terribly tossed about when the wind blows. I should think their babies would be thrown out.”

“Don’t you worry about them,” said a voice.

Peter looked up to find Welcome Robin just over him. “Mrs. Goldy makes one of the most wonderful nests I know of,” continued Welcome Robin. “It is like a deep pocket made of grass, string, hair and bark, all woven together like a piece of cloth. It is so deep that it is quite safe for the babies, and they seem to enjoy being rocked by the wind. I shouldn’t care for it myself because I like a solid foundation for my home, but the Goldies like it. It looks dangerous but it really is one of the safest nests I know of. Snakes and cats never get ‘way up there and there are few feathered nest-robbers who can get at those eggs so deep down in the nest. Goldy is sometimes called Golden Robin. He isn’t a Robin at all, but I would feel very proud if he were a member of my family. He’s just as useful as he is handsome, and that’s saying a great deal. He just dotes on caterpillars. There’s Mrs. Robin calling me. Good-by, Peter.”

With this Welcome Robin flew away and Peter once more settled himself to think over all he had learned.

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Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. (Ephesians 4:28 NKJV)

That is an interesting verse. Did Sally Sly “steal” another bird’s nest? Could she have made her own nest, raise her own chicks and feed them? Sure she could have and many of the Cowbirds do. But there are a few that sneak around and place eggs in other nests.

Are we suppose to steal answers from someone else’s paper? No, we are supposed to study and write our own answers.

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Why were all the birds upset?

What kind of bird caused the problem?

What Family of birds does it belong to?

What other birds belong to that bird family?

Was Sally Sly being kind?

Eph 4:32  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Links:

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Links:

Bubbling Bob the Bobolink - Burgess Bird Book ©©

  Next Chapter (More of the Blackbird Family)

 

 

 

Burgess-Bird-Book-for-Children

  Burgess-Bird-Book-for-Children

 

 

 

Robust Woodpecker (Campephilus robustus) by BirdPhotos_com Wordless Birds

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Birds Vol 1 #6 – The Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

Baltimore Oriole for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897, From Col. F. M. Woodruff.

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

Vol 1. June, 1897 No. 6

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THE BALTIMORE ORIOLE.

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ALTIMORE Orioles are inhabitants of the whole of North America, from Canada to Mexico. They enter Louisiana as soon as spring commences there. The name of Baltimore Oriole has been given it, because its colors of black and orange are those of the family arms of Lord Baltimore, to whom Maryland formerly belonged. Tradition has it that George Calvert, the first Baron Baltimore, worn out and discouraged by the various trials and rigours of temperature experienced in his Newfoundland colony in 1628, visited the Virginia settlement. He explored the waters of the Chesapeake, and found the woods and shores teeming with birds, among them great flocks of Orioles, which so cheered him by their beauty of song and splendor of plumage, that he took them as good omens and adopted their colors for his own.

When the Orioles first arrive the males are in the majority; they sit in the spruces calling by the hour, with lonely querulous notes. In a few days however, the females appear, and then the martial music begins, the birds’ golden trumpeting often turning to a desperate clashing of cymbals when two males engage in combat, for “the Oriole has a temper to match his flaming plumage and fights with a will.”

This Oriole is remarkably familiar, and fearless of man, hanging its beautiful nest upon the garden trees, and even venturing into the street wherever a green tree nourishes. The materials of which its nest is made are flax, various kinds of vegetable fibers, wool, and hair, matted together so as to resemble felt in consistency. A number of long horse-hairs are passed completely through the fibers, sewing it firmly together with large and irregular, but strong and judiciously placed stitching. In one of these nests an observer found that several of the hairs used for this purpose measured two feet in length. The nest is in the form of a long purse, six or seven inches in depth, three or four inches in diameter; at the bottom is arranged a heap of soft material in which the eggs find a warm resting place. The female seems to be the chief architect, receiving a constant supply of materials from her mate, occasionally rejecting the fibers or hairs which he may bring, and sending him off for another load more to her taste.

Like human builders, the bird improves in nest building by practice, the best specimens of architecture being the work of the oldest birds, though some observers deny this.

The eggs are five in number, and their general color is whitish-pink, dotted at the larger end with purplish spots, and covered at the smaller end with a great number of fine intersecting lines of the same hue.

In spring the Oriole’s food seems to be almost entirely of an animal nature, consisting of caterpillars, beetles, and other insects, which it seldom pursues on the wing, but seeks with great activity among the leaves and branches. It also eats ripe fruit. The males of this elegant species of Oriole acquire the full beauty of their plumage the first winter after birth.

The Baltimore Oriole is one of the most interesting features of country landscape, his movements, as he runs among the branches of trees, differing from those of almost all other birds. Watch him clinging by the feet to reach an insect so far away as to require the full extension of the neck, body, and legs without letting go his hold. He glides, as it were, along a small twig, and at other times moves sidewise for a few steps. His motions are elegant and stately.


THE BALTIMORE ORIOLE.

About the middle of May, when the leaves are all coming out to see the bright sunshine, you may sometimes see, among the boughs, a bird of beautiful black and orange plumage.

He looks like the Orchard Oriole, whose picture you saw in May “Birds.” It is the Baltimore Oriole. He has other names, such as “Golden Robin,” “Fire Bird,” “Hang-nest.” I could tell you how he came to be called Baltimore Oriole, but would rather you’d ask your teacher about it. She can tell you all about it, and an interesting story it is, I assure you.

You see from the picture why he is called “Hang-nest.” Maybe you can tell why he builds his nest that way.

The Orioles usually select for their nest the longest and slenderest twigs, way out on the highest branches of a large tree. They like the elm best. From this they hang their bag-like nest.

It must be interesting to watch them build the nest, and it requires lots of patience, too, for it usually takes a week or ten days to build it.

They fasten both ends of a string to the twigs between which the nest is to hang. After fastening many strings like this, so as to cross one another, they weave in other strings crosswise, and this makes a sort of bag or pouch. Then they put in the lining.

Of course, it swings and rocks when the wind blows, and what a nice cradle it must be for the baby Orioles?

Orioles like to visit orchards and eat the bugs, beetles and caterpillars that injure the trees and fruit.

There are few birds who do more good in this way than Orioles.

Sometimes they eat grapes from the vines and peck at fruit on the trees. It is usually because they want a drink that they do this.

One good man who had a large orchard and vineyard placed pans of water in different places. Not only the Orioles, but other birds, would go to the pan for a drink, instead of pecking at the fruit. Let us think of this, and when we have a chance, give the birds a drink of water. They will repay us with their sweetest songs.


Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) Male by Nature's Hues

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) Male by Nature’s Hues

Lee’s Addition:

I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. (Psalms 50:11 NKJV)

The Baltimore Oriole is in the Icteridae – Oropendolas, Orioles & Blackbirds Family. They are slimmer and smaller than an American Robin.

This bird received its name from the fact that the male’s colors resemble those on the coat-of-arms of Lord Baltimore. Like all icterids called ‘oriole’, it is named after an unrelated, physically similar family found in the Old World: the Oriolidae. At one time, this species and the Bullock’s Oriole, (Icterus bullockii), were considered to be a single species called the Northern Oriole.

The male oriole is slightly larger than the female. Adults have a pointed bill and white bars on the wings. The adult male is orange on the underparts, shoulder patch and rump. All of the rest of the male is black. The adult female is yellow-brown on the upper parts with darker wings, and dull orange on the breast and belly.

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) Female by Nature's Hues

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) Female by Nature’s Hues

The Baltimore Orioles, a Major League Baseball team in Baltimore, Maryland, were named after this bird. It is also the state bird of Maryland.

Song of an Oriole – by xeno-canto.org (recorded by Robin Carter)

The male sings a loud flutey whistle that often gives away the bird’s location before any sighting can be made.

Baltimore Orioles forage in trees and shrubs, also making short flights to catch insects. They mainly eat insects, berries and nectar, and are often seen sipping at hummingbird feeders. Oriole feeders contain essentially the same food as hummingbird feeders, but are designed for orioles, and are orange instead of red and have larger perches. Baltimore Orioles are also fond of halved oranges, grape jelly and, in their winter quarters, the red arils of Gumbo-limbo (Bursera simaruba).

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Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 June, 1897 No 6 - Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 June, 1897 No 6 – Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for May 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

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(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – The Snowy Owl

Previous Article – The Loggerhead Shrike

Sharing The Gospel

Links:

Introducing our newest photographer – Nature’s Hues by John Jeevaratnam

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Birds Vol 1 #5 – Orchard Oriole

Orchard Oriole by Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

Orchard Oriole by Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

Vol 1. May, 1897 No. 5

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THE ORCHARD ORIOLE

The Orchard Oriole is here.
Why has he come? To cheer, to cheer—C. C. M.

imgt

HE Orchard Oriole has a general range throughout the United States, spending the winter in Central America. It breeds only in the eastern and central parts of the United States. In Florida it is a summer resident, and is found in greatest abundance in the states bordering the Mississippi Valley. This Oriole appears on our southern border about the first of April, moving leisurely northward to its breeding grounds for a month or six weeks, according to the season, the males preceding the females several days.

Though a fine bird, and attractive in his manners and attire, he is not so interesting or brilliant as his cousin, the Baltimore Oriole. He is restless and impulsive, but of a pleasant disposition, on good terms with his neighbors, and somewhat shy and difficult to observe closely, as he conceals himself in the densest foliage while at rest, or flies quickly about from twig to twig in search of insects, which, during the summer months, are his exclusive diet.

The favorite haunts of this very agreeable songster, as his name implies, are orchards, and when the apple and pear trees are in bloom, and the trees begin to put out their leaves, his notes have an ecstatic character quite the reverse of the mournful lament of the Baltimore species. Some writers speak of his song as confused, but others say this attribute does not apply to his tones, the musician detecting anything but confusion in the rapidity and distinctness of his gushing notes. These may be too quick for the listener to follow, but there is harmony in them.

In the Central States hardly an orchard or a garden of any size can be found without these birds. They prefer to build their nests in apple trees. The nest is different, but quite as curiously made as that of the Baltimore. It is suspended from a small twig, often at the very extremity of the branches. The outer part of the nest is usually formed of long, tough grass, woven through with as much neatness and in as intricate a manner as if sewed with a needle. The nests are round, open at the top, about four inches broad and three deep.

It is admitted that few birds do more good and less harm than our Orchard Oriole, especially to the fruit grower. Most of his food consists of small beetles, plant lice, flies, hairless caterpillars, cabbage worms, grasshoppers, rose bugs, and larvæ of all kinds, while the few berries it may help itself to during the short time they last are many times paid for by the great number of insect pests destroyed, making it worthy the fullest protection.

The Orchard Oriole is very social, especially with the king bird. Most of his time is spent in trees. His flight is easy, swift, and graceful. The female lays from four to six eggs, one each day. She alone sits on the eggs, the male feeding her at intervals. Both parents are devoted to their young.

The fall migration begins in the latter part of July or the beginning of August, comparatively few remaining till September.

Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) ©WikiC

Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) ©WikiC


Lee’s Addition:

Its leaves were fair and its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The living creatures of the field found shade under it, and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches; and all flesh was fed from it. (Daniel 4:12 AMP)

The Orchard Oriole is in the Icteridae – Oropendolas, Orioles & Blackbirds Family. It  is the smallest North American species of icterid blackbird. The subspecies of the Caribbean coast of Mexico, I. s. fuertesi, is sometimes considered a separate species, the Ochre Oriole.

This species is 6.3 inches (16 cm) long and weighs 20 g. The bill is pointed and black with some blue-gray at the base of the lower mandible (Howell and Webb 1995). The adult male of the nominate subspecies has chestnut on the underparts, shoulder, and rump, with the rest of the plumage black. In the subspecies I. s. fuertesi, the chestnut is replaced with ochre (Howell and Webb 1995). The adult female and the juvenile of both subspecies have olive-green on the upper parts and yellowish on the breast and belly. All adults have pointed bills and white wing bars. (Orchard Orioles are considered to be adults after their second year.) One-year-old males are yellow-greenish with a black bib.

Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) m by Kent Nickell

Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) m by Kent Nickell

Orchard Oriole sound from xeno-canto.org

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 May, 1897 No 5 - Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 May, 1897 No 5 – Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for April 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

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(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – The Marsh Hawk

Previous Article – Screech Owl

Sharing The Gospel

Links:

Icteridae – Oropendolas, Orioles & Blackbirds Family

Orchard Oriole – All About Birds

Orchard Oriole – Wikipedia

Orchard Oriole – National Geographic

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Birds Vol 1 #1 – The Golden Oriole (or Hooded Oriole)

Golden Oriole

Golden Oriole

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

Vol 1. January, 1897 No. 1

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THE GOLDEN ORIOLE

imgw

E find the Golden Oriole in America only. According to Mr. Nuttall, it is migratory, appearing in considerable numbers in West Florida about the middle of March. It is a good songster, and in a state of captivity imitates various tunes.

This beautiful bird feeds on fruits and insects, and its nest is constructed of blades of grass, wool, hair, fine strings, and various vegetable fibers, which are so curiously interwoven as to confine and sustain each other. The nest is usually suspended from a forked and slender branch, in shape like a deep basin and generally lined with fine feathers.

“On arriving at their breeding locality they appear full of life and activity, darting incessantly through the lofty branches of the tallest trees, appearing and vanishing restlessly, flashing at intervals into sight from amidst the tender waving foliage, and seem like living gems intended to decorate the verdant garments of the fresh clad forest.”

It is said these birds are so attached to their young that the female has been taken and conveyed on her eggs, upon which with resolute and fatal instinct she remained faithfully sitting until she expired.

An Indiana gentleman relates the following story:

“When I was a boy living in the hilly country of Southern Indiana, I remember very vividly the nesting of a pair of fine Orioles. There stood in the barn yard a large and tall sugar tree with limbs within six or eight feet of the ground.

“At about thirty feet above the ground I discovered evidences of an Oriole’s nest. A few days later I noticed they had done considerably more work, and that they were using horse hair, wool and fine strings. This second visit seemed to create consternation in the minds of the birds, who made a great deal of noise, apparently trying to frighten me away. I went to the barn and got a bunch of horse hair and some wool, and hung it on limbs near the nest. Then climbing up higher, I concealed myself where I could watch the work. In less than five minutes they were using the materials and chatted with evident pleasure over the abundant supply at hand.

“They appeared to have some knowledge of spinning, as they would take a horse hair and seemingly wrap it with wool before placing it in position on the nest.

“I visited these birds almost daily, and shortly after the nest was completed I noticed five little speckled eggs in it. The female was so attached to the nest that I often rubbed her on the back and even lifted her to look at the eggs.”


Hooded Oriole (Icterus cucullatus) by Daves BirdingPix

Hooded Oriole (Icterus cucullatus) by Daves BirdingPix


Lee’s Addition:

According to the article, the bird came here to Florida. Checking Thayer’s Birding Software and limiting it to Florida and Orioles, I think it must have been the Spot-breasted or the Hooded (but they don’t come to Florida, so it must be the Spot-breasted) Oriole as we call it today. The only “Golden Oriole” is the “Golden Oriole or European (or EurasianGolden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus) is the only member of the oriole family of passerine birds breeding in northern hemisphere temperate regions. It is a summer migrant in Europe and western Asia and spends the winter season in the tropics.” “The African Golden Oriole (Oriolus auratus) is a member of the oriole family of passerine birds which is a resident breeder in Africa south of the Sahara and the “Indian Golden Oriole (Oriolus kundoo)” of India. All three of those birds leave Florida and Indiana out of the picture.

The Orioles are actually found in two different families; the Icteridae – Oropendolas, Orioles, & Blackbirds Family (New World) and the Oriolidae – Figbirds, Orioles Family (Old World).

Spot-breasted Oriole (Icterus pectoralis) by Kent Nickell

Spot-breasted Oriole (Icterus pectoralis) by Kent Nickell

New World orioles, comprising the genus Icterus, are a group of birds in the blackbird family. They are not related to Old World orioles which are in the family Oriolidae, but are strikingly similar in size, diet, behaviour and in their strongly contrasting plumage, and are a good example the Lord’s Creative Hand. Because of similarities and being from the same kind, the two took the same vernacular name.

The males are typically black and yellow or orange, with white markings; the plumage of females and immature birds is duller. These birds go through one moult in a year. They are generally slender with long tails and a pointed bill. They mainly eat insects, often also nectar and fruit. The nest is a woven, elongated pouch. Several species are easy to attract to birdtables by the provision of cut oranges and grape jelly. Species nesting in areas with cold winters (including most of the United States) are strongly migratory, while subtropical and tropical species are more sedentary.

The name “oriole” was first recorded (in the Latin form oriolus) by Albertus Magnus in about 1250, and was stated by him to be onomatopoeic, from the song of the European Golden Oriole.

The genus name Icterus as used by classical authors, referred to a bird with yellow or green plumage. In modern times this has been identified as the golden oriole. Brisson re-applied the name to the New World birds because of their similarity in appearance.

Spot-breasted Oriole (Icterus pectoralis) by Lee -Tamarac from photo

Spot-breasted Oriole (Icterus pectoralis) by Lee -in Tamarac, FL from photo in 1990’s

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Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 January 1897 No 1 - Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited – Introduction

The above article is the tenth article in the monthly serial that was started in January 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

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(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – Vol 1 #2 February 1897

Previous Article – The Red-Rumped Tanager

ABC’s of the Gospel

Links:

New World Oriole – Wikipedia

Spot-breasted Oriole – Wikipedia

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