Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Orioles versus grosbeaks

This is what happens when I try to take photos of tiny birds with an iPhone even though the hummer is only 5 feet away through my bathroom window. Female grosbeak on cake feeder Miscellaneous finches on finch feeder

With a 300 mm lens. At this angle, she looks like a large sparrow. As she appeared shortly after a male oriole passed by, I assumed she was a female oriole eating the orange. But then I noticed that the orange had not been touched and her beak is too short to be a nectar sucking oriole. I matched her photo with those in the bird book: she's a rose breasted grosbeak. So many females look alike

My hummer sitting in the tree

On the feeder beating his wings

Not sure why he ruffled his feathers

Patio before the rain

Cardinals and grosbeaks are related: same beaks and diet 
The male rose breasted grosbeak showed up today. Distinguishing feature: red blotch on chest. I took many photos with the good camera but can't load them onto a computer as Steve, gone, has hid the supplies
Early yesterday I swear I saw a male Baltimore oriole (now called Northern Oriole) on my feeder. It flew away as soon as it saw me but I saw its orange and black back. I put out some orange slices on the cake feeder to lure it back. Within a half hour, a bird I believed to be its mate was on the cake feeder maybe eating the orange. Steve took photos. At some point, I noticed that the oranges were untouched  I looked at the photo closely: female orioles do not have black on their heads and have long, skinny beaks, not short, fat ones. Did I have some kind of thrush? Female red winged black bird? Giant sparrow? It matched up with a female red breasted grosbeak. I had only seen a male once a corpse. It flew into a window at work and died (the labs were all glass). People were curious what kind of bird it was. Eventually we figured it out as its plumage was so unique and striking.

The male oriole did return last night and sat on the cake feeder for a while. So it was not my imagination. Steve by then had bought an oriole feeder. Was he on that all orange feeder meant  to attract him? No. I told Steve to hurry  and get the good camera out but alas, he was loading the card with the hummingbird pix on to the computer. So I have the camera ready for the oriole's return.

This morning the male red breasted grosbeak showed up. He so far has spent most of the morning gnawing away at the cake feeder. He is stunning. I took lots of photos but have to wait for Steve to return to load them. He likes to hide the card reader.

I am an election day widow again. Working for minimum wage, Steve works an eighteen hour shift that sometimes extends to 21 hours. He is in a student precinct. As graduation was last Saturday, no one will be around to vote. Roads versus schools is the only issue. The road is torn up with lots of back-ups where I need to vote so I might not show plus, now, and this pisses me off with the timing, I have to deal with a plumber. This was NOT a good time for him to work the election. Our new township (slogan: We are Superior!!!) wants him to work here instead. More pay; less driving.

He leaves early with the coffee maker already to go as I can't be trusted not to make a mess. All I need to do is press a button which I do. It lights up but no@#$#@ coffee appears. In the middle of no where with no coffee. I need to have some blood drawn anyway, get dressed, and there's a Starbucks in the lab basement so I won't have caffeine withdrawal. It's rush hour and due to construction, only one direction of traffic can pass causing unbelievable back-ups. Dvorak is on and I have my coffee so I am happy but I won't go through that again to vote.

The weather report says rain is to start at 10:15 am so I get my run in before that. Much cooler than yesterday. And the rain starts on the dot. Tomorrow was supposed to be rain free, meaning we'd get our painting done, but now I see that has changed. I am waiting for a plumber to call so I can rush over to the Money Pit. Didn't get a chance to take a shower. I have a lot of little things to take care of today but they will have to wait.


Elephant's Child said...

Our bird book gets a work-out. And the lbj's (little brown jobs) who are mostly female are almost always more difficult to indentify.
Your schedule makes me feel tired just reading it. How ever do you do it?

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

EC, I use the Audubon Society's Guide to North American birds, which has nice color plates. Unfortunately, my book is old though in good shape. How can a bird book become out-dated? No thanks to global warming, bird ranges are way different. Robins used to be the first sign of spring? Now they are here year round. I have a flock of white crowned sparrows, which according to my out-dated book, never can be found here and are quite rare. Ha! And my friend's rng necked ducks aren't supposed to be this far south nor the red breasted mergansers I found up north.

I am getting a great variety of birds here but probably just a fraction that you get in Oz. Do you get little brown birds?

Elephant's Child said...

We most definitely do get lbjs. Quite a lot of them. And the smaller birds are often very fast with an erratic flight pattern which adds to the complexity of identifying them.


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