by Carl Strang
Compared to the previous two years at Mayslake Forest Preserve, 2011 seemed relatively depauperate in orioles. Where there had been a pair of orchard orioles in each of the previous two seasons, this year there were none. Where there had been 4-6 pairs of Baltimore orioles, this year all the observations pointed to a single pair. This was supported by my recently finding the nest.
The nest was at the center of the area where I noted orioles this year. Though it was right above one of the trails I regularly use, as you can see in the photo it was buried in an oak branch tip. It would have been well concealed by leaves when it was in use.
I do not know why orioles were so few this year. Without the season-long sets of observations I would not have realized there was even a difference. This exemplifies the value of frequent visits to a monitored area, and taking careful notes that can be reviewed for patterns at the end of a season.