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Posts Tagged ‘Baltimore Oriole’

Hi everyone! It’s Cindy here. Today I want to show you one of my favorite birds that comes to our feeders.

A Male Baltimore Oriole

We’ve had orioles in our yard every year since we’ve lived here (30 years!) but until recently we didn’t see them very regularly. May of 2018 was the first time we had one come to our hummingbird feeder. Charlie quickly made a orange feeder for them so they wouldn’t hog all the hummer food and they’ve been back every year. The above picture was taken in a different area of our yard near our suet feeder which the orioles like to use too.

You may have noticed that many of the bird pictures I’ve posted recently (here and here) have a similar looking background and the birds are often perched on the same stick so I thought I would let you in on my secret to getting the birds to pose on a particular stick.

The first order of business is to be well camouflaged.

When I first started, the weather was colder so I used my insulated camo jacket with camo gloves and a camo blanket I had to cover my tripod and disguise most of my body.

Here is what the birds saw of me

Now lets see what I was aiming at.

Suet Feeder with posing stick

Charlie found a nice stick in our yard and fashioned a way to mount it on a pvc pipe that was secured in the ground. At first we shoved some suet into cracks in the stick to help attract the birds to land on it. Once they got used to it the birds would land on the stick before going to the suet feeder and also look for the suet on the stick. You can see some of the orange colored suet at the top of the stick in the picture above. That worked well but we didn’t like the way the orange suet stuck out in the pictures so we modified the stick.

Four holes drilled into the back of the stick

We regularly filled the holes with suet

Having the holes filled with suet allowed the birds to hang out on the stick more to give me plenty of opportunities to photograph them. This worked pretty well but my camouflage needed to be better and it would be too hot when the weather warmed up so I upgraded to a LensCoat Lightweight LensHide.

Me in the LensCoat Lightweight LensHide

Here is a side view of the setup

With my camera set to burst mode I would wait for someone to show up. In order to get the shot I was looking for I often would capture a series like this:

Oh look! There is suet back here.

Nom, nom, nom.

Down the hatch it goes.

Now smile for the camera.

This set up has been working very well and allowed me to capture pictures of the birds in our yard like never before. We have plans on setting up another posing stick in our perennial garden near the bird bath and mealworm feeder.

In case you were wondering here is a look at the gear I’m using when I photograph the birds.

FujiFilm X-T4 with XF 100-400mm lens + 1.4x teleconverter
Manfrotto 502AH Pro Video Head
Manfroto 3011BN tripod

A closer view of the tripod head and camera.

This is a very sturdy set up that comfortably holds the large lens and allows me freedom of movement to track the birds.

I hope you enjoyed seeing how I’ve been able to capture pictures of the birds in our yard. Just to let you know I often have to sit in this position for a couple of hours to be able to catch the birds at the feeder.

I’m joining the Wild Bird Wednesday blog hop. You should stop by and see some more birds.

I was not paid to endorse any of the products in this post and purchased all the equipment for myself. The links and descriptions were included in case anyone was interested in the items used.

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Hi everyone! It’s Cindy here. Our yard offers birds lots of trees to perch on. Some of the favorites are the evergreens where they are often watching over their young or on the hunt for food.

American Robin on Alaskan cedar

Female Eastern Bluebird on spruce tree

One of our favorite backyard birds is the Eastern Phoebe.

Eastern Phoebe on Alaskan cedar

After a quick bath the phoebe perched on the cedar to dry off.

The phoebe keeps watch for its preferred food

Is that a fly down there that I can catch?

According to the “All About Birds” website phoebes “typically place their mud-and-grass nests in protected nooks on bridges, barns, and houses.” We’ve looked around our house and there isn’t a nest on it that we’ve found so we aren’t sure where these little birds are nesting but they must be close by as they are frequently hunting all around our yard.

Female or Juvenile Baltimore Oriole with bug in beak

Sometimes even when the birds are eating berries they can find a tasty bug right under their beaks. You may have to click on the above image to see the what the oriole found.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the birds we see around our yard. I’m joining the Wild Bird Wednesday blog hop. You should stop by and see some more birds.

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Hi everyone! It’s Cindy here. A few weeks ago I showed you some of the birds that were feeding on our serviceberry tree. We also have a shrub form that sets its fruit just a little later than the tree. These shrubs have been a hot bed of bird activity recently. As you will see each type of bird has their own method of feeding on the berries. Don’t forget you can click on the images to see a larger version.

Let’s start with the American Robin.

The stem is a good form of roughage.

Grasp the berry in your beak and then…

…toss your head up and pop it in your mouth.

Another bird that uses the swallow whole method is the Cedar Waxwing.

First you have to find the right berry.

Pluck the berry from the stem and…

…down the hatch it goes.

We haven’t see or heard from our Baltimore Orioles much in the past few weeks but I did see one in the serviceberry bushes enjoying some fruit.

Female or Juvenile Baltimore Oriole stabbing a serviceberry.

The last of the birds that usually snarf the berries whole is the Eastern Bluebird.

Let me see which one is the ripest.

I’ll take this one…

…but I’d prefer to take it to another tree to nibble on it.

The bluebird surprised me by flying off to another tree with the berry. He set it down on the branch and surprisingly it didn’t roll off. Then he settled in and picked away at it until it was gone.

Some of the smaller species enjoy the serviceberries too but they can’t eat them whole. Here the Tufted Titmouse demonstrates how they eat.

This berry looks tasty.

I’ll hold it in my claw so I can peck at it.

Finally one of the smallest birds in our yard, not including the hummingbirds, also enjoys eating the serviceberries. Here a Black-capped Chickadee demonstrates his method.

I like to grab the berry while it’s still attached and hold it in my claw.

It’s easy to peck at while you hold it.

Do I have some berry on my beak?

If you look closely at the last picture (click to make bigger) you can see a tiny piece of berry in the chickadee’s beak.

While I was shooting these pictures Charlie was on a photo safari of his own in the yard and captured this picture.

This is how I get pictures of such small birds.

Here I am shooting pictures with my new FujiFilm X-T3 camera. I have a 100-400 mm lens and a 1.4x multiplier. As you can see I am hand holding the camera. I could never do that with my old Nikon. This set up weighs about 4.7 pounds (2.1 kg) compared to the Nikon equivalent that weighed over 9.5 lbs (4.3 kg). I do use a monopod occasionally for extra stability and to lighten the load from hanging around my neck. I’m really enjoying getting back into bird photography. Our yard is so full of bird activity right now I’m having a difficult time keeping up with all the pictures I’m taking.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the birds we see around our yard. I’m joining the Wild Bird Wednesday blog hop. You should stop by and see some more birds.

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Hi everyone! It’s Cindy here to tell you about some of the wild bird excitement we’ve had in the past few days. On Saturday morning we saw a Baltimore Oriole feeding from our hummingbird feeder.

Male Baltimore Oriole on hummingbird feeder

In a short time we were able to see at least 3 male Orioles and one female.

Male Baltimore Oriole on hummingbird feeder while female waits her turn

One of the things Orioles like to eat from are fruits and oranges are a favorite. Since we had a supply of oranges in the fridge Charlie decided to make an orange feeder. After a little while in his workshop an orange feeder was created.

An orange feeder with room for half an orange on each side.

All it took were a few scraps of wood (that were already treated with protective coating) and a sturdy piece of wire salvaged from an old bookcase. A couple of screw eyes to hang it with and we were in business.

We put the orange feeder just a few feet away from the hummingbird feeder and within minutes the orioles were exploring it.

Sometimes there was even a waiting line in the tree above the feeder and other times there was an oriole on both sides.

In the morning when I take the dogs out for their first “business” run I now add orange feeder maintenance to the routine.

A well used orange

Needless to say the new feeder is a hit with the orioles. We think we have at least 2 males and 2 females so we are hoping they stick around all summer so we might get to see their babies too. Most summers we’ve had glimpses of orioles around our property but this is the first year we’ve ever had them come to our hummingbird feeders so we hope to see much more of them.

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