September 6, 2011
I've read about these colorful birds in magazines, but I've never been fortunate enough to see them in person. The magazines make orioles seem as common as hummingbirds, but since I'd never seen them in Texas, I figured that they were a northeastern bird – a reasonable assumption when their name includes the word "Baltimore." How wrong I was. San Antonio is in their migration route.
This is the female. Her underside is much more colorful than her top.
From the backside, she looks like a large warbler, which is what we thought she was at first.
Once I spotted the male, however, I knew exactly which section of the bird book to flip to. These birds are a little smaller than mockingbirds, and I was surprised to see that they aren't shy around other birds. They have no problem mingling with sparrows, cardinals and even starlings.
The orioles have been here since Friday. Travis first spotted the female at the birdbath, but her identity was a mystery until Monday when I noticed the male. In this drought, it's probably a challenge for the birds to find water on their trek south so I bet the bird bath was key factor in their decision to visit us.
Keep your bird baths full. If this drought brings us nothing else, at least you might see some new birds.