Stonesteps sunset

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bullock's Oriole

While I was out hunting raptor quarry yesterday, this little guy alighted on a nearby branch and started singing a sweet song.

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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I saw a Bullocks Oriole last week at Burro Creek AZ. Common?
Also saw a pair of Blue Herons taking turns fishing for newborn chicks. They had a nest high up on a vertical cliff over Burro Ck.
Moments later I witnessed a pair of Ravens fight off a Red Tail Hawk. Also saw Harris Hawks and Golden Eagles. Buzzed by a Hummingbird guarding its nest. Saw two Wrens fighting to the death on the ground-so intent on winning a mate they let us walk within a few feet of them. One bird was holding down the other, plucking at its eyes. Springtime!
Burro Creek 10 miles south of Wickiup and 10 miles north of Nothing AZ. Great desert oasis. Where the Sonoran and Mohave Deserts meet. One canyon will have Joshua Trees and the next will have Saguaro Cactus, and a few canyons overlap vegetation. Great scenery and wildlife. Incredible flowers.