Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Baltimore Orioles return to the Charles River Peninsula

The tree swallows totally own box 4 this year. Sorry, chickadees.
Today ushered in the CRP soundscape I've been waiting for all year. Baltimore orioles, rose-breasted grosbeaks, orchard orioles, song and savannah sparrows, warbling vireo, all over a backdrop of twinkling yellow-rumped warbler song. I recognized two Baltimore oriole songs from last year--one in the Redwing Bay lot and the other in the woods near the tip of the peninsula. More to come, I'm sure of it. Catbirds and yellow warblers are still being rather quiet.

And there's action! Grackles (and a newly arrived Baltimore oriole) dive-bombing crows. Orchard orioles racing the width of the peninsula over the affections of a female. A yellow-rump chasing a tree swallow (?) A robin chasing a nuthatch (??)

Almost makes me forget that vandals smashed two nesting boxes over the weekend, one with a tree swallow nest in it.

For the sake of comparison, I walked the Field View trail at Ridge Hill. Not as much new activity but I did discover a great warbler spot behind the old hunting lodge--yellow-rump, palm, black& white, blue-headed vireo, hermit thrush, all moving together along the forest edge. And one new Baltimore oriole song (some day I want to travel the country collecting them).

[May 3 UPDATE: Blue-winged warbler near entrance to property. Yellows and some extra Baltimore orioles have returned. At home, black-throated green and black and white warblers audible from my window. And at Ridge Hill, hermit thrush song from the forest edge]


Matt said...

Hi Peter,
I really like this post! You can really tell individuals apart by their song? I knew that they had a highly variable song, but that is really cool. I've been collecting Baltimore Orioles songs from Nahanton Park, I'll have to listen and see if I can find repeat visitors and then compare them to orioles from other locations.

Peter Oehlkers said...

Baltimore Orioles are pretty consistent in their song though very often they only sing fragments of it. It is one of the rare opportunities to track the fortunes of individual birds without banding. I sometimes walk around Cutler Pond and record all the orioles I hear (often 7 or more).

Peter Oehlkers said...

Here's the complicating factor:
Baltimore Orioles also learn to sing the songs of their neighbors, so year to year one can only be absolutely certain it's an oriole from the previous year but not necessarily the same exact individual.