Saturday, March 16, 2013

First Hooded orioles of 2013

Update April 16
Pretty good activity at the feeders lately, both orioles and hummingbirds. Feeder refill rate is going up a bit, getting closer to 2 gallons per day. On a sad note - said goodbye to an old male Anna's hummer this morning. He passed away overnight. I could see he was slowing down lately, but he would still guard his favorite feeder and chase away intruders!
A fresh capture from one of the 'birdcams' in the backyard - an adult male hooded oriole stopping in for breakfast! Reminder - clicking on the image in the Time Lapse window will start a 24 hour video loop (maybe closer to 36 hours).

Update Saturday April 6
A better day today. And a couple of first sightings. First Rufus Hummingbird seen at the feeders. First male anyway, females are very hard for me to tell apart. And first hooded oriole offspring this year. A young male, same story with orioles - I may have seen a young female, wouldn't have known.
Also, First snake in the yard for several years. Probably 4 foot long gopher snake, very lumpy. Either carrying eggs or helping to keep mice population down. Hopefully, the latter - either way is OK.
 A blackchinned and Anna's hummers snacking

A couple of shots of diving hummers!

Update April 5
Sad day for orioles in the backyard. We heard a rustle then plaintive cries, then a female oriole was carried away by a sharpshinned hawk late this afternoon. Not an easy thing to hear and see.

Giving the lady orioles a little blog time..
Afternoon break

Update March 24
Spotted 3 adult males this afternoon chattering at the feeder corner of the backyard. Hopefully that means at least three pairs/families this year.

Update March 17
The first 'pair' of hooded orioles have been sighted, adult male and female flew up to feeder while I was relaxing in the backyard. A short while after, a fairly confident sighting of 2 females. Could be up to 3 returning birds from last year.

March 15-2013 Just sighted the first Hooded oriole of this year on March 15th, Friday afternoon. It was a brightly colored male at one of the feeders. The arrival is  a week later than last year, but a day earlier than the year before that (2011). That's pretty consistent. 
They have been sighted about 10 miles north a few days earlier and a day earlier about 7 miles to the south. I knew they were in the area, but I have been worried about the sharpshinned hawk who has been hanging out in the backyard for a couple months. The hummers are not bothered (though a couple have met their demise), but we will see if the orioles stay.
No photos yet!
Still no photo - but a video capture from backyard webcam - not great resolution.
Hummingbird feeder has been 'converted' to  oriole/hummer feeder by removing the plastic flowers on the base. This works fine until bees start showing up.

Ten days later, Lunchtime!


  1. Thank you I will put the Oriole Feeder up. I have only seen a few hummers in the last month but still many lesser goldfinches. I'm in Escondido in the semi rural area near the new hospital. Looking forward to photos.

  2. Hi Justine, thanks for stopping by! Sounds like you are on the opposite side of town. Good luck with the orioles. I have up a finch sock and get 10 or so lessor finches. Mostly hummers though, I have way too many feeders up! Right now going through about a gallon a day of hummer mix.

  3. I was so excited to see your post. I am in south Orange County and for the last few years I have had a family come from spring to late summer. I was out in the garden last week and I was so excited when I heard one- I know their sound. I looked up and there was a male in the tree above my head. Luckily I set out the feeders in advance. I thought for sure once I came in the house I would see it on the feeder. But I am so disappointed because it hasn't been back. I have no way of knowing if it was one from the last few years or a new one passing by. I am not so patiently waiting for some Orioles here. I really hope they return and that one sighting wasn't it.


  4. Hi Lisa! I hope your 'family' returns this year. Their voice is distinctive, for sure. Especially the chatter, but also the clicks and whirs they sometimes make. It always reminds me of R2D2! They are fun to have in the backyard and I was glad to hear them arrive, and see them a day or 2 later.
    Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. Hi Patrick, My kids took a photo of what we think is a hooded oriole this morning on our bottle brush tree in Chula Vista. I've attached a link and we're hoping you can confirm. Does it appear to be a juvenile to you? The kids have been excited about birds since we started our seed feeder that attracts sparrows and finches but now we might need to add a nectar feeder too! Thanks for any insight you can give!


    Bird link:

  7. Hi Matthew!! Just got notice of your comment, they don't show on blog until some action by me. I looked at your photo, I am quite sure that's an adult male hooded oriole. Nice! The young males are not bright yellow/orange but the 'bib' or dark patch is visible, though more gray than black. That's how I got started, putting up a feeder, now there are lots - hooo boy! Feeders are easy, 4 parts water - 1 part granulated white sugar. Mix well, no color needed. Keep the 'nectar fresh, watch out for ants, don't hang it where it will get wet. Good Luck! I love listening to the orioles 'chattering' (once you get a couple). Sounds a bit like R2D2 to me sometimes.