Remember that when you leave this Earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given, a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage. -St. Francis of Assisi

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Altamira Oriole

All of these pictures were taken with my iPhone.  I was working in the Visitors Center and took the pictures through a window

Visitors come here looking for this bird and never seem to arrive when the birds are right outside the window. I have been fortunate to see this pair come to the bird bath several times last week and today.

Today, one was in the birdbath and the other was on the log that has peanut butter.

click on pictures to enlarge

The shape of the Altamira Oriole nest is unusual, it it very long. It looks as though it is hanging by a thread on the branch. I'm wondering if this is so that squirrels or other critters can't get to it. 

This nest is near the Refuge Office
which is a short walk from the Visitor Center

The nest is just swinging in the wind.

It looks like a heavy wind would blow it away,
 we had some heavy wind on Monday and the nest is still there.

The Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis) is a New World oriole. The bird is widespread in subtropical lowlands of the Mexican Gulf Coast and northern Central America, the Pacific coast and inland. It also can be found in the extreme south of Texas, ( the Rio Grande Valley).
At 25 cm and 56 grams, this is the largest oriole of the Icterus genus. This bird nests in open woodlands. The nest is a very long woven pouch, attached to the end of a horizontal tree branch, sometimes to telephone wires.
This bird forages high in trees, sometimes in the undergrowth. They mainly eat insects and berries.
These birds are permanent residents, and unlike the migratory orioles that breed in the US, the species is "sexually monomorphic"—both the males and the females have elaborate coloration and patterning.


  1. I wonder if that is the same pair of orioles that was there when I was. We'll never know. :)

  2. Oh what pretty birds. Glad you caught them via photos.

  3. Very nice pictures of beautiful birds. I like your Christmas tree too!!

  4. Those are such beautiful birds. How neat that you got to see them.

  5. I rarely use any other camera any more except for my iPhone. It is a really good one to use.

  6. I rarely use any other camera any more except for my iPhone. It is a really good one to use.

  7. They must be related to the eastern Baltimore Oriole or maybe they are calling it the Northern Oriole or maybe they switched it back again. I can't keep up. But they look similar and the nests look the same. Envy you seeing them up so close and for such a long time.

  8. Beautiful! I tell you the weather here in Florida has made me wish I had stayed in Port Aransas ... love the birds ...

  9. Beautiful bird - I enjoyed seeing the nest hanging there. Glad it was still there after the storm. They must use a very strong attachment. I wonder if they make it, like a spider makes its web. We're so lucky to be able to see these things in their natural setting. :)

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  15. Friends were just down your way and were sad not to see the Altamira Oriole. A few years ago, we had seen numerous ones. Glad you got such close up and personal looks.

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