An unfamiliar melody high in the trees caught my attention last week. I heard the sweet lilting music a few times before I could connect it with the singer, the Rose-breasted Grosbeak. These striking birds are only occasional visitors here, passing through in the spring, and now at least one pair is frequenting the oak trees, eating the tassels. They are quite welcome to them. They also make themselves at home at our birdbath and feeders.
The male wears his heart on his throat. When he sings, he barely opens his beak, but the throat patch moves like a fluttering heartbeat.
It's been five years since we've heard one of the Baltimore Oriole's rich tunes.
A couple of years ago, we heard reports of sightings in Protem, which is heartbreakingly close to us,
but the birds never made it to our place, at least, not while we were looking, which is much of the time.
They are fond of oranges, so I cut one in half and put it out on the table on our deck.
I was happy to learn that they love mandarins, too, since I had a bag of them on hand.
The male matches them perfectly and stretches to eat every last morsel.
The female's coloration is more subtle...
...but she is no less energetic when it comes to digging out sweet morsels.
When they sing for their supper, we definately get the best end of the deal.