The first Oriole of the season. Photo by Dave Beck
Tales and Trails

Orioles abound OUTDOOR

In the COVID world all aspects of life are impacted. Supply chain issues creep into our lives and we don’t realize it until we can’t get what we want. Thankfully the toilet paper binge seems to be behind us (that started off as an unintentional pun). Recently another shortage came to light. Fortunately, it has nothing to do with COVID and it is happening for a good reason. In our little corner of the world there is a shortage of grape jelly. The cause: A massive amount of Baltimore Orioles returning for the summer and in numbers not seen in over 25 years.

I received a great number of traits from my father. He spent much of his life on the river and enjoyed the woods just as much as I do. It was my mother Kathy who planted the bird seed in me (that is an intentional pun). Kathy wore many hats in her life: The manager of the family business and the CEO of our entire family. She always had time for her birds with Orioles being her favorite. Even though her responsibility plate was overflowing, she always made sure that the Oriole feeders were full.

My younger sister Danette, who lives in Illinois, also inherited the Oriole addiction. That’s a great thing for me because she is my advance scout. She gives me the heads up when the Orioles are on their way to my backyard. This year her text message ar rived on Friday, April 29, at 6:22 p.m. I sprang into action as there was no time to wait: THE ORIOLES ARE COMING; THE ORI OLES ARE COMING!

The spring birding ritual had begun. I made a quick run to pick up some Oriole Liquid solution and grape jelly. After that I washed out the feeders, loaded them up, and hung them in place. The second to last thing on my spring bird “To Do” list was to put up a deer trail camera on the jelly feeder. The last thing was to wait. That’s where the trail cameras come in. It’s always neat to see when the first birds arrive and true to form, they started ar

riving about a day after the heads up text from my sister. The camera also gives me an idea of what the numbers will look like the year.

This year the numbers are crazy. There are birds everywhere. Any bird enthusiast you talk to says the same thing: “I can’t keep my feeders full.” That’s the situation in my backyard as well. When I went on my first grape jelly run, I only bought one jar and that was a mistake. When I went back two days later, the shelves where the store brand jelly was usually stocked were completely empty. I had a decision to make: Were my Orioles worth Smucker’s grape jelly? I guess if you love them, they will love you back. My birds got Smucker’s.

Why am I so attached to Orioles? One reason is that they are eye candy. In my opinion, they are the best looking bird that trav els through these parts and that includes male wood ducks. The other reason is a little deeper. Every year when that first Oriole arrives, I look to the sky and say: “Hi Mom, I miss you too.”

*To see more trail camera Baltimore Oriole pictures, you can view them on Facebook at Outdoor Tales and Trails By Dave Beck.

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May 24, 2022