A Hanging Basket Mystery

I noticed the coir lining around my hanging basket beginning to thin in places so I became more attentive for several days to discover the cause.Β  Patience paid off and one day I saw the culprit. A bird. At first glance at the color of the tail, I wondered if this was a warbler. I waited for the bird to slowly work its way around the rim of the container.

oriole

What appeared was not a warbler at all, but a female orchard oriole (Icterus spurius). I sent photographs to serious birders in three states just to make sure and it was confirmed as a female orchard oriole. We watched her return several times to gather the coir fibers around this hanging basket.

Click to enlarge photos:

She must be building her nest close by. Female orioles build the bulk of their hanging nest of woven grasses and long plant fibers and twigs. She will finish it off with soft plant down and fine grasses as a lining. We have seen Mr. Oriole near the suet once but only fleetingly and he hasn’t been back. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to spot their distinct nest on a walk through the neighborhood in the next weeks. Fingers crossed….

To watch a female orchard oriole build her nest, check out the short video below:

Our pair will finish raising their brood and could migrate south as early as mid to late July. For a little more information on this climate threatened oriole, click HERE.

16 thoughts on “A Hanging Basket Mystery

  1. I only have good old Baltimore orioles here. They do not stay long. One brood I think. Have seen the young male at the oranges. Not as steady as his parents. Have had a family here for several years.

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      • Thank you, April, for highlighting my blog as one you like to visit. Yours is one that leaves me in awe… especially your travel adventures with youngsters, one a toddler!!! I love being an armchair adventurer following these amazing trips you plan so well. For some reason, I’m unable to post a comment on your blog… so hope you see this!

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  2. I have seen but one ever here, though I am told that some grape jelly on an orange and the orioles become regular visitors. Great article here, Ann.

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    • I’ve fed Baltimore Orioles grape jelly in another town, never the Orchard Oriole. I put some jelly out yesterday and the catbirds attacked it. Gone in 30 minutes. I have to buy a gallon size jar next time. πŸ˜•

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  3. Hi Annie: always love your posts. i hope all goes well for you and Marv. cb

    On 22 June 2017 at 13:29, Breaking New Ground in Zone 5 wrote:

    > Annie posted: “I noticed the coir lining around my hanging basket > beginning to thin in places so I became more attentive for several day to > what might be the cause. Patience paid off and one day I saw the cause. A > bird. At first glance at the color of the tail, I wonde” >

    Liked by 1 person

    • mister gardener is great! He’s not gardening so much now. I’ll have to find a new name for him. I’m happy you keep up with our new life in New Hampshire. We really love it here but, boy, do we miss our good friends in Gloucester VA…. especially YOU!

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