[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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