Return of the Prodigal Grosbeak
The beginning of May is when many migratory songbirds return to the Chicago area. And so, before leaving home for a business trip, I stocked the bird feeders with some of their favorite foods.
Sure enough, when I returned today, there were Baltimore Orioles and Rose Breasted Grosbeaks making themselves at home in the back garden.
Baltimore Orioles spend the winter in Colombia, Central America, and other areas around the Caribbean. They are not considered to be endangered, but are not normally seen because they spend their time up in the tops of trees. Unless, that is, you put out grape jelly and orange halves, but especially grape jelly. And that is exactly what I did before leaving on Tuesday morning. Once they start feeding in your back garden, I have found that they will stick around until fall.
Rose Breasted Grosbeaks are large finches, related to Cardinals. Like the Orioles, they overwinter in regions near the Caribbean. They are ground feeders who appreciate sunflower or safflower seeds. They like to feed on the ground, so I attract them with a platform feeder. Unfortunately, in my garden they show up in May but don’t stick around for more than two or three weeks. They may show up again on their way south in the autumn.
Have you seen any favorite songbirds return lately?