Colorful Notes from Somewhere in the Leaves – Maybe a Baltimore Oriole

Further down the road, several fluted, clear, mellow, rich whistles came from a bird hidden somewhere in the dense green foliage near the top of a tall old pecan tree. I’m not sure, but think it was the voice of a Baltimore Oriole. I stood beneath the tree, listening for several minutes as it called, slow, short calls with long pauses in between, not a full song, but phrases, and I tried to find the singer, but couldn’t ever see it.

It’s hard to see how a bird so brilliantly colored as the flaming orange and black Baltimore Oriole could hide itself, even in thick leaves. I thought surely I should be able to catch a glimpse of orange – if that’s what it was. But I couldn’t. So I’ll never know for sure. The alluring, musical voice sounded so familiar and so distinctive – almost as colorful as the bird’s plumage – but I don’t know this one well enough to be certain without seeing it. So it’s another of those small but very common frustrations of birding – the glimpses, the broken phrases, the ones you don’t quite see.

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