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Haven't done one of these in a while!

I usually do a "bird" post every once in a while. After all I garden as much for wildlife as I do anything else and these guys brighten up my landscaping as much as any flower.

However, I will admit some of them frustrate the heck out of me. While many birders and bird watchers are happy just observing them and adding them to their life lists, I am not so lucky. My wife says my need to photograph them is "a problem." After dragging her and Dustin out to Nebraska to find long-billed curlews, which she found and I was not able to photograph and therefore spent the rest of the day grumbling about it, she may be right.

These ones are a little closer to home. In fact they live in an overgrown "thicket" that is sort-of my windbreak on the north side of the house. But these damn birds WILL NOT let me take their picture. Despite the fact I buy oranges JUST FOR THEM I can hardly get within 200 feet before they take off. I can't even walk past the window inside the house without spooking them. It's actually driving me insane.

I've got two pairs of bullock's orioles that are probably nesting nearby (not in my yard, probably closer to the river where there's more trees) and they enjoy the oranges I put out for them, and sing and chatter from the tree tops in the "thicket", but almost as soon as I reach for my camera, ZOOM! off they go. I don't know if I've ever met a flightier bird.

When I first noticed that the oranges had been picked clean I assumed the godforsaken house sparrows had pillaged them since I hadn't seen or heard any orioles. But them I finally heard one. Their song is pretty unmistakable once you learn it. So I hunkered down and waited. Then I heard a song that I wasn't familiar with coming from behind me. Then this fellow, a male orchard oriole, plopped down right in front of me! He's a little more amenable than bullock's but not terribly so.

While sitting in the thicket, I was actually quite surprised at the diversity that little area has. In addition to the usually characters like grackles, robins, downy woodpeckers etc. there was the orioles, brown thrashers, yellow and yellow-rumped warblers, a clay-colored sparrow, and Swainson's thrush. Nothing rare or unusual, but a few new birds for me, and only about 10 yards from my front door! Too bad trying to take photos birds when there are branches and leaves everywhere is every bit as maddening as the skittishness of the orioles!

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