Readers’ wildlife photos

August 19, 2021 • 8:00 am

Susan Harrison, a professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at the University of California at Davis, sent us some bird photos from Texas. Her commentary is indented, and you can enlarge her photos by clicking on them.

Feeding oranges to birds is well-known to experienced bird lovers. From “Perhaps one of the best things about feeding birds oranges is the low maintenance. You don’t need a snazzy feeder. Simply hammer a nail to a deck railing or fencepost and stick an orange half to the nail.”

As a novice, I learned about this practice on a trip to see the songbird migration in south Texas in April 2021.   What a treat for the hungry and thirsty migrants, fresh from their long cross-Gulf flight, to stick their beaks into juicy half oranges!  Some resident species like the golden-fronted woodpecker enjoy them too.  Among the crowd of bird lovers at the South Padre Island Convention Centre, the experienced ones like our guide Alex Lamoreaux arrived with a five-pound bag of oranges and a knife and replaced fully devoured fruits with fresh ones.   (Also pictured:  Janet and Steve Shields.)

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula):

Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus bullockii):

Golden-fronted woodpecker (Melanerpes aurifrons):

Nashville warbler (Leiothlypis ruficapilla):

Orchard oriole (Icterus spurius):

Northern parula (Setophaga americana):

Scarlet tanager (Piranga olivacea):

Tennessee warbler (Leiothlypis peregrina) :

Tennessee warbler (2):

Yellow warbler (Setophaga petechia):

A good drink and a bath was the other big treat for the incoming migrants.   Here are some birds reveling in a water feature and a coachwhip snake lurking for them. (The painted bunting was at a pond on the nearby mainland.)   A sign at the Convention Centre pond admonished photographers to NOT stun tired, thirsty birds with a flash.

Baltimore oriole (Icterus galbula):

Coachwhip snake (Masticophis flagellum):

Gray catbird (Dumetella carolinensis):

Painted bunting (Passerina ciris):

Yellow warbler:

[ Of course, you should never give food or water to a migrant if they are a human being;  you could get arrested for that. ]   <-  completely gratuitous commentary

South Padre Island Conventional Centre:

12 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Great pictures! I should put out some oranges.
    Years ago I had the opportunity to handle a captive coachwhip snake. Extra long, fast, and super alert. It was the snakiest snake I’d ever encountered.

  2. I never imagined the orange half ‘trick’ for a bird treat. Going to try it and pass this idea on to a few people with their own gardens. Wonderful photos. Thank you.

  3. Oranges are good, but IMHO grape jelly is the bomb. Gone through 10 or 12 jars so far this summer. The only downside is having to trap the yellow jackets–which are a problem at the hummer feeders, also.

  4. I have heard of putting out oranges for orioles, but I didn’t know that so many other birds were attracted to them. The downward-pointed Tennessee warbler is so cute!

  5. It is amazing that even mostly-insectivorous birds like warblers go after the oranges. But I suppose that after flying across the entire Gulf of Mexico nonstop, they aren’t going to be too fussy about their first meal.

  6. These were a lot of fun, and like other readers, I’m going to try putting out some oranges. I bet the Steller’s Jays around here would go for them.

  7. Terrific pjctures! I’m going to have to see if the orange trick works over here in grey old England. The birds would probably complain about the lack of salt and vinegar, or gravy.

    I have to say it; is anyone else confused by the way the Nashville warbler appears to have feathers, and not Rhinestones?

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