May 27, 2010

They're back!

Well, I don't really know whether it is the same pair, but some hooded orioles are using the nest again that was built last year. There are 4 eggs in it, Dan found out with our "mirror on a stick". The nest is a beautiful contraption with hay twine, grass, and lined with dog hair, and it hangs from wires which were to be used for a porch fan. Initially I was worried whether it would withstand our fierce winds, but it appears to be well-constructed.

I wondered whether the orioles would use the nest again because this year that side of the porch has been taken over by a cactus wren. He is quite territorial and has stuffed any available hole with all kinds of nesting material. Including the grill, which we now leave open. He also stuffed the oriole nest, but apparently the orioles either cleaned house, or are happy with the new furnishings.

The cactus wren has really been an asset to the place. He patrols for bugs, and our patio furniture, and my garden clogs, are spiderless and clean. He is a true bird of the desert: he will drink the nectar from the oriole feeder, and eat the seeds from the feeder. Whatever is available will do apparently. He has a raucous call that sounds like somebody is chewing a rubber band. I cannot figure out this compulsion for stuffing holes, though he seems to roost in one of these nest boxes. As far as I know, no female has taken him up on his offer to set up housekeeping. Maybe too close to humans to be raising a family.

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