[CT Birds] I know where all the Orioles have gone.
Mntncougar at aol.com
Mntncougar at aol.com
Thu Aug 4 22:15:49 EDT 2016
I've noticed for years that, at least at places where I bird and in my
neighborhood, when there are families of B. Orioles around, once the young
fledge they stay in the area for at most a week or 2, then disappear. I've
often wondered whether they are already heading south, or just moving away
from the nesting territory. Today I think I stumbled on the answer, at least
for the Yale Forest area.
In the Forest, as most everywhere now, the vast majority of birds are no
longer singing, although there are some exceptions. Even though it's quieted
down there are still lots of birds around, and every day I manage to find
something interesting. When I can find the time I'm going to post a "Boston
Hollow Re-cap" to report on the last couple of weeks and some of the
things I've seen or found. But today was kind of different.
This spring the Yale folks suggested that I take a look at some areas that
they have recently logged, which I didn't know about. One is a very large
tract in Union, in the northwest corner of the Forest. It was cut perhaps 3
or at the most 4 winters ago, and is now growing up into shrubs and brush,
averaging 3 to 5 feet tall. In late June I found the predominant birds
there to be Chestnut-sided Warblers; the fields were full of them, along with
Common Yellowthroats, E. Towhees, Catbirds, House Wrens and a few other
varieties. They have left a large number of mature trees standing as seed trees
and bird habitat, and they call that type of area "shelter woods". There
are large numbers of woodpeckers in the trees; I've found YB Sapsuckers,
Pileated, Red-bellied, Downy and Flicker. I can't recall seeing a Hairy, but I
don't doubt they're there.
The ground cover is so thick it's almost impenetrable except for the
traces of logging roads, especially since the predominant plants are
BLACKBERRIES! When I first went there in June I noticed they were literally covered
with berries, even though I think the very dry June set them back a little
and diminished the size of the berries. Ever since, I've been checking back
waiting for them to ripen, and a couple of weeks ago, found the first few.
Even today, when I finally went back, less than 1% were ripe, but there are
such masses of them that the plants are falling over under the weight in
I confess that I went today mostly for the berries, but I wasn't there
long when I realized the brush was filled with not only berries, but birds!
And a majority of them were Orioles, probably 90% or so juveniles. They were
everywhere, feeding on the berries. I stood at one spot and I'm sure, saw
more than 50 of them, although between the brush and mayhem a count was
impossible. And I'd guess this cut area may be 100 acres, of which only a small
portion is easily accessible. So I think there are easily 100 or more
Orioles, and that may be a very low estimate.
In addition, the trees were full of Cedar Waxwings, so many that at first
I thought their calls were some kind of insect, since the Cicadas are now
out in force.
I had 1 CEWA land within 25 feet of me, pick a berry and give me a dirty
look before departing with his prize.
And the G Catbirds and E Towhees were having a field day as well.
So, if you're looking for fruit-eating birds, look for blackberry
brambles! Looks like there's a bumper crop this year. And don't forget to check out
any black or choke cherry trees that have ripening cherries on them as
well. They should be ripe in a week or two now. Unfortunately the tent
caterpillars hit them pretty hard this spring.
Don Morgan, Coventry, Ct.
mntncougar at aol.com
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