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A new garden visitor, the Hooded Oriole

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Hooded Oriole on a cable wire above the garden

A few days ago, as I was observing bees in the lavatera shrub, I suddenly heard the flapping of wings. It somehow sounded different from other birds and I could tell it was a larger bird.

Imagine my surprise when I looked up to see this bright yellow medium-sized bird sitting on the cable wire.

I had never seen such a bright yellow bird in the Bay Area, and here it was, just sitting momentarily, checking things out. I fortunately had my camera with me and was able to get this photo of the bird before it just as suddenly flew away again. But I have seen it again several times in the past few days.

I did some research on the Audubon Society website and learned that this is a Hooded oriole, relative to blackbirds. Its wintering grounds are in southern coastal Mexico and then it migrates back to Northern California starting in late February. Its distinctive features are the bright yellow color with a black mask and golden hood.

And it apparently enjoys the same nectar/sugar water that hummingbirds drink from feeders.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Hooded Orioles!

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