Monday, September 12, 2011

Hummingbirds and....What??

When I woke up the other morning, I immediately spotted my hummingbird feeder lying on the ground next to the deck in the back yard.  I thought, "That's odd."   I went out to retrieve it, picking it up where it had been dashed into a flowerbed, covered with mulch and dirt.  It was completely empty of sugar water.  I just couldn't imagine how it could have gotten there. 

I brought it into the kitchen, washed it off, rinsed it out, refilled it with fresh nectar, and re-hung it on the shepherd's hook next to the deck.  Back to my morning as usual, making coffee, getting breakfast ready, and then logging into my laptop to check emails and read the news.  Just moments after sitting down, something large and bright caught my eye outside the breakfast room window.  A large, orange and black bird had landed on the shepherd's hook and then hopped down and clung to the upright and looked about, checking things out. 

What is that bird??  I thought it might be an oriole but checked my bird guide just to be sure.  It hopped from the upright to the hummingbird feeder, tilting and spinning it wildly.  Aha!  There's the answer to the mystery of how the feeder ended up on the ground.

Clearly the oriole is too big and heavy for the hummingbird feeder.  Each time he landed on the feeder, nectar would drip out of the holes as he tipped one side down.  I learned from a friend that there are special oriole feeders, designed to hold nectar as well as bits of fresh fruit.  I need one!!

 Orioles summer and nest in the Great Lakes area and in the Northeast.  Houston is just on the western edge of their migratory flyway in the fall and spring.  It is very rare to see them here along the western Gulf coast.  So this is very special!

The oriole returned to the feeder throughout the rest of the day and he still shows up today.  Gorgeous bird!

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