Return of the Prodigal Songbirds
Right around May 1 they return from winters spent in southern Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. (If only I could spend my winters there.)
Of all the migrating birds that return from the tropics, my favorites are probably the Baltimore Orioles and Rose Breasted Grosbeaks.
In late April I start putting out grape jelly and oranges for the Orioles, safflower seeds for the Grosbeaks.
I maintained an anxious watch on the feeders, but by May 4th there had been no appearances. Then I had to go out of town. The morning after I returned, however, there they were: the Orioles with their striking plumage of black and bright orange, the Grosbeaks wearing red chevrons on their chests (suitable, I always thought, for superheroes).
Once they arrive, the Baltimore Orioles will visit the feeders all summer. Their normal diet consists of fruit and insects, and they prefer to spend most of their times up in the treetops.
Jelly and colorful ripe fruit (oranges, but also cherries and grapes) will tempt them into making appearances at lower elevations, however.
Rose Breasted Grosbeaks visit feeders for only a few weeks in May. They like sunflower, safflower, and peanuts – though I notice at our feeder that they have also developed a taste for jelly.
The males look like they are wearing dark suits and starched white shirts with a bright red tie.
Have migrating birds been arriving in your garden?