"I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven."
Emily Dickinson

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Nectar feeder draws hooded orioles

A male hood oriole sticks its tongue out after drinking nectar. Photo by J.J. Meyer
A juvenile hooded oriole, photo taken in Mission Viejo on 8/2 by J.J. Meyer

There's been a recent flurry of activity at my oriole feeder in the past few days. At one point, there were three on the feeder and one on the hook above. I believe I'm seeing a pair and their offspring.

Hooded orioles are very distinctive. Males are easy to spot with their flashy colors. Adult males tend to be bright yellow or orange over most of their body with black wings and white wingbars, a distinctive black face and throat with a hood of orange or yellow-orange. Females are less colorful with mostly dull yellow bodies and gray wings. 

Though it may look like a different species, the second photo is of a juvenile hooded oriole. It's definitely less sleek than an adult female and has a shorter bill.

Here's a description of plumage from Cornell Labs: Juvenile plumage similar to Definitive Basic (adult) female, except wing-bars buffy and plumage duller; generally olive-brown above and pale olive-yellow below with noticeable whitish belly (unlike adult female); and less contrast between grayish flanks and remaining underparts than adult female. Body-plumage without black feathers in face or throat, and flight feathers uniformly fresh. Sexes alike in coloration, although some black feathers can occur (occasionally) on throats of hatching-year males before or during migration.

Hooded orioles are migratory and return to their wintering grounds in Mexico, and Central and South America in early September. 

Happy birding!

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