Tuesday, April 16, 2013
For a person who spends so much time taking pictures of birds, you would think I would know a little something about the subject. You would be mostly wrong.
I figured that it was an oriole or tanager of some kind but didn't have a clue. He was sure a pretty bird.
I showed the picture to the guys at coffee and Wild Bill, the official keeper of the ipad, quickly looked it up.
Turns out that he is a Bulllock's Oriole. Quite common. Icterus bullockii. From the family Icteridae. They are sexually dimorphic, his plumage is more colorful than the female of the species. Once thought to be a cousin (recently disproven by phylogenetic testing ) to the more famous but in no way more regal Baltimore Oriole, the Bullock's Oriole was named for the english amateur naturalist William Bullock.
Both species are part of a family known as the new world blackbirds. The bird is native to Western North America, although sometimes vagrants can be found in the east, and the species likes woodlands near bodies of water. You can hear his song here.
As I said, I am not really a birder, have never kept a list. My knowledge of birds is like my knowledge in most areas, a half mile wide and a half an inch deep. Recently I made the mistake of confusing a striker's jay with a blue jay in front of a hardcore birder and caught hell, don't think I will ever live it down. The Bullock's Oriole said that he didn't care.