Rock Star Birding

From my humble, suburban backyard I get a nightly serenade from a rock star. He's amazing -- colorful, flamboyant, pipes out quite a tune, and keeps me anticipating his next performance. He started showing up at least 5 years ago, probably drawn to the area by the tall palm trees (also fine nesting for the local barn owls from whom I occasionally collect pellets ). Once in a while I spy his mate, much drabber than his schoolbus yellow with inky black throat and black & white streaked back. This hooded oriole pair comes from southern Mexico every spring to set up house. Their nest, not seen by me, is woven suspended from a branch of a palm or other tree somewhere nearby. They glean the trees and bushes for insects and I just saw the male piercing our neighbors passion flowers for nectar. I can only imagine the stir this bird creates among our much more sedate residents. The towhees scuffling on the ground probably hunch a little lower and trill a little softer. "There goes the neighborhood!"

It won't be too many more weeks before this colorful family leaves for the warmer climates south of us. It feels like a reward for getting outside and paying attention to get acquainted with this bird who's as "at home" in my yard as the tropical rainforests it goes to for the winter. Wouldn't it be great to experience our world and my "home" with boundaries so wide as that!

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