A transplanted Southern Californian living in North Dakota, with some insights on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.



Sunday, May 19, 2013

More Bird Sightings - Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Northern Baltimore Oriole

It has been an amazing week of bird watching here at the homestead.  After chronicling our sighting of a Rose Breasted Grosbeak and Goldfinches in the post Bird Sighting - Rose Breasted Grosbeak earlier this week, we had several additional cool bird sightings.  Over the last few days we spent much of our time either out in the garden or on the front porch relaxing after working in the garden, so there was ample opportunity for spying birds. 

It's truly a perfect time for bird watching since migratory birds are passing through and trees haven't fully leafed out yet, making it easier to see the birds.  All the photos are from others much better than myself at capturing birds with a camera. 

The first bird we saw was a Scarlet Tanager, a vibrant red bird that grabbed my eye immediately.  I was hoping the red meant that it was a cardinal (I really want to see a cardinal), but the black shoulder and smaller size led us to an identification of the Scarlet Tanager. 
Photo Credit
I also spotted an Indigo Bunting, a bird as brilliantly blue as the Scarlet Tanager was red.  The Indigo Bunting is actually a fairly common bird in South Dakota and North Dakota, but this is the first time we've seen one here on the homestead.  He (I know it was a dude since the ladies aren't nearly as colorful) was a very cool bird, so amazingly blue. 
Photo Credit
After seeing these two cool birds in one day, we thought we had seen enough fantastic things for one season, but the next day we saw a Northern Baltimore Oriole.  This bird caught my eye as a sudden flash of orange.  He (again I know it was a male since the females aren't as colorful) stayed just for a few minutes, and wasn't interested in the sunflower seeds we had to offer.  A bit of research indicated they prefer orange halves, so it might be time to build special feeder just to attract orioles. 
Photo Credit
Spotting the Northern Baltimore Oriole actually led to some concurrent spirited Internet research between Alycia and myself.  There's some debate as to whether the Northern is a different species than the Baltimore Oriole.  From this website about Orioles:
When John James Audubon painted these birds in 1836 and 1825, he considered them to be two different species. For about three decades starting in the late 1960s, many ornithologists thought they were the same species and "lumped them" into the Northern Oriole. Now they've "split" them back the way Audubon thought they were all along.
In addition to the new birds, the Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks have been around all week as well, sometimes as many as a half-dozen at a time.  They're entertaining birds to watch - tumbling, climbing, squabbling with one another, and just generally making for good bird watching.

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