Baltimore Orioles are building a nest outside my window.
Thinking they deserve better than he, she, or it, I asked Facebook friends for names. I reminded everyone that five years ago, we named some nesting Pileated Woodpeckers Lucy and Ricky, inspired by their blazing red crests. For my new bird neighbors, friends suggested Fred and Wilma, Bogey and Bacall, Cal and Ripken, and Earl and Weaver, among others. But my favorite names were (sorry, baseball fans) Lord and Lady. I’m sure Cecilius Calvert and Anne Arundel, the Second Lord Baltimore and his Lady, wouldn’t mind.
Building began on May 14. Cornell’s Birds of the World (BOTW) says that Baltimore Orioles can construct a nest as fast as four days and that most nests are finished in about a week. But these birds’ progress has been slow.
Here are some work-in-process photos.
Lady Baltimore weaving on construction day 6We’ve had several days of rain, and the lord and lady are fair-weather weavers. Let me correct myself: The lady is a fair-weather weaver. You see, Anne does all the work.
Cecil does a whole lot of serenading and he stops by the nest regularly. Sometimes, it appears he’s tying a string or two. But he never stays long enough to advance their project. BOTW confirms that generally, males limit their contribution to inspecting their mate’s work. Indeed, several times I’ve seen Cecil muddle up the works, flailing clumsily and damaging some of Anne’s handiwork.
Here’s a video of some construction work, taken on nest-building day 5. I chose this snippet because it shows both the lord and lady in the nest. I edited the video for brevity. Anne worked for about two minutes in the original.
My goal with this post was to introduce the birds and show them at work. In days to come, I’ll share some views that had me catch my breath—not in awe of the birds’ beauty, but in fear for their lives. Stay tuned!