Anyway, it has been a delightful summer of backyard bird observation. Once again our feeders were graced with the presence of Hooded Orioles ... with the added pleasure of having a pair raise a new family, once again. These birds love grape jelly and that seems to keep them coming back. I put up jelly feeders prior to their arrival in the spring and keep them up past the time they leave just to make sure they know they can depend on me, lol! Anway, I think I should buy stock in Welch's or Smuckers for the amount of grape jelly we purchased this year. It was much more than last year ... so perhaps we had more than one pair staking out the feeder. I've wondered whether last year's offspring might have wandered back in addition to the parents. It really was fun watching the parents bring their babies to the feeder. The little guys would hang on to the feeder and beg their parent to feed them. Finally, they caught on and began diving into the jelly themselves.
The jelly feeder holds a small plastic cup within a wooden platform and has a pitched roof over the top. The platform isn't very large so it was entertaining to watch one parent and two chicks trying to balance themselves on the feeder at the same time on a couple of occasions.
The only competition for the jelly continues to be our resident blue jay. I believe he watched the orioles and decided what was good enough for them was perfect for him, too. Just a couple of days ago we had some unwelcome competition from an ant colony who I believe were on the march to find water during a horrendous heat spell we are still experiencing. Believe it or not, the temperature has been in the low 100's eventhough we aren't more than 15 miles to the ocean ... as the crow flies. We haven't had ant problems until this very hot weather arrived. The ants were crawling over the jelly feeder on one day ... which perhaps discouraged the orioles from feeding ... but they were gone the next. Perhaps they were being urged on in their search for some water. I haven't seen the orioles since and I'm not sure if the ants discouraged them or it was time to begin heading south. I can't remember when they left last year, perhaps it was about this time.
The photo above is of my jelly feeder sans orioles. Actually, it is very difficult to get any photo (good or bad) of the birds at the feeder because they are very nervous by nature and fly off at the slightest movement or site of a human. Although I must admit they were a little more tolerant this year than last. But still impossible to photograph. Perhaps next year I'll be lucky enough to have them trust a little more. We'll see.