Another Nest Finding Technique

by Carl Strang

Animals are teachers. This is true in a variety of ways, but today I want to share a recent lesson given me by a fox squirrel and a pair of Baltimore orioles. Earlier I described  how I found Mayslake’s north savanna oriole nest by watching the female as she carried nest material. Another pair has been active in the south savanna, but I did not know the location of their nest. On a recent day as I walked into that area I heard the voices of orioles giving sharp, repetitive notes. There were two birds, and they were in a cottonwood tree. Soon I saw a fox squirrel in the same tree.

Fox squirrel worrying orioles b

The squirrel was just sitting there, but the orioles’ agitation could only mean that their nest was nearby. I searched all the branch tips of that cottonwood, and before long found the nest.

Baltimore oriole area 11 nest b

You may have to take my word for it. The nest is in this photo, but it’s not easy to pick out. The male and female oriole continued to mob the squirrel (here’s the female in mid-note).

Baltimore oriole female b

Eventually the rodent got up and jumped to another tree. Almost immediately the orioles quieted. I watched the female as she vanished back into the nest, and I celebrated the addition of another nest-finding technique to my bag of tricks.

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