Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Orchard Oriole

After visiting Pipestone National Monument last July, we drove the short distance to Blue Mounds State Park in southwestern Minnesota. We failed to find our target species, the Blue Grosbeak, although we did find it the next day in South Dakota. We were pleased, however, to find this preening Orchard Oriole.

I do not know if preening has been described in the literature for wild Orchard Orioles. Scharf and Kren (2010) describe preening in a captive bird: "Reaches with bill to upper back, lower flank, and belly while keeping body erect. Extends and rotates wings halfway forward to preen lower surfaces; often inverts head while preening underside of wing. Lifts tail and rotates to side to expose crissum and underside to bill. Stretches wing and leg at same erect, oblique angle, with wing half extended and tail spread out to side under wing while leg on same side stretches backward. Leg does not touch undersurface of wing or tail in this stretch.”

This male is at least two years old. Younger males and all females are drab greenish-yellow. First-year males have black throats. I am surprised that I lack a photo to share with you. I have banded quite a few in South Dakota and even saw both females and first-year males on this trip. Another species to make a mental note to photograph next time I encounter one.

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