Thursday, June 18, 2009

Baltimore Orioles Parenting Fledglings Danger in the Garden

Looking carefully at the top picture (after you have clicked on it), you can just barely see two Baltimore Oriole fledglings leaving their nest. There is one just above the nest and one higher up on the same branch. Now the parents have their wings full so to speak ... bringing to mind how people parents have to be more on their toes when their child first begins to crawl and then to walk. There is danger in this freedom and it does not take long, before there is an alarm of cries going thru the garden alerting me inside my studio, to grab camera and look outside. I saw the pair of Orioles sitting in the Native Cherry tree on the opposite side of where their nest was. They were both looking anxiously down towards the ground, while calling out in frantic voices.

I hurriedly took a few shots and saw that at one point the female flew over to the male, and literally nudged him... just one little push and he flew off. I assumed it was her way of asking him to Do Something! Maybe to create a distraction for the fox. There was a community outrage, as other birds flew over to see what was happening. I saw another Baltimore Oriole pair in a nearby tree and they too had been crying out. There is a mystery here as the other pair must have lost their nest and perhaps want to help the resident Orioles raise their young. I will research this a bit. The male must have been the one that was photographed in the fight a few days back.

Seeing and hearing all this fluttering about, I knew something was very wrong, and though I had an injured left shoulder I went outside to scope out the problem. As I was walking out, I saw a lovely gray fox, who was startled by my presence and dashed off before I could take a photo of her. I am not as quick with just one arm to work with. I then walked over closer to the area the birds had been eyeing with horror it seemed, and there hidden in the bishops weed, at the edge of a path was a baby Oriole. I felt so grateful I had hurried out, even if a bit sad for the fox, for she must feed her young as well. I thought to myself ... "Why not seek out the long eared rabbits!".

I stood still and in a short while the fledgling emerged and began climbing up on a raspberry or wild rose seedling. I could not help but notice its incredibly large feet, that it will shortly grow more in proportion to. The little one had a bit of trouble getting up as these photos show, but it did finally arrive at a comfortable mid range seating on the bended seedling. The parents soon came over and let me know I was not welcome. That is gratitude for you, but I did not wish to cause more anxiety or interfere with their helping the fledgling to a safe place for the night. I was speaking softly to the little one, while taking its portrait, and then seeing that it was safe, I left, so the parents could get on with their difficult job of caring for this baby bird and its siblings hiding safely elsewhere. I hear another fledgling in a nearby tree calling out and the little one on the ground would answer ... or more like they were both crying for their parents.

As I was leaving the garden, I saw a few dead branches in a hydrangea bush just next to a large seeding Viburnum. I wanted to take a picture, but did not appreciate the unsightly sticks, so I walk up towards the bush and all sorts of cries chimed out at me. The Cat Birds were all in a tizzy, so I knew they must have a nest right near where I was standing. It did not take me a minute to find it, and so I took a couple shots, while they screamed bloody murder, and other birds flew over to see what was going on. There was one just above me in a tree I could not identify but think it a warbler of some sort. I left right away with no harm done... all was well again ... for now... with no alarming calls floating through the gardens. I hoped for the best, for the little grounded Oriole.

Next morning I went out to check on the Oriole and it had moved into a safer place up in another Viburnum under the Japanese Tree Lilac, which offered it protection from the Broad-Winged Hawk, that was calling out and flying over the garden. I had not been near the fledgling long ... I had just wanted a few shots ... before the father landed in the Tree Lilac above me and he was holding a worm for the baby Oriole ... again he was not happy to see me so near his young. So I left the garden nursery to the birds and went inside to ice my shoulder. I love the little crown of fluff on the babies head. I surely admire the efforts and devotion of the Oriole parents and feel a kindredness in their helplessness in trying to protect their young. The hawks have keen vision, while a fox has superb olfactory organs and there are many other threats out of one's control. I wonder if parenting birds ever just pick up a baby gently with their claws and carry them to safety. If a hawk can do it, why not any bird... maybe it is a dangerous maneuver in itself. I will have to research this question and delve further into it within another post documenting a Blue Bird fledgling. Coming Soon.
Related Posts with Thumbnails