Altamira Oriole

Icterus gularisBig bright male Altamira (Icterus gularis).Icterus gularisA nest in progress: a woven sack hanging from the branches. This species, which just barely makes it into South Texas, makes the largest nest in North America: they can be up to two feet long.Icterus gularisThe female is carrying something stringy here for this nest.Icterus gularisThis was another nest elsewhere. The female is weaving from the inside.Icterus gularisHere she surveys her surroundings.

Brooklyn’s own Baltimore Orioles (I. galbula), just now arriving on migration, make woven sack nests as well, but the results are much smaller. I’ve seen both males and females plucking at rope in Prospect to gather fibers for the structures. Their nests often persist through the winter, looking like shredded baseballs suspended from the bare trees.

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