Despite our late snows and cold weather…
[Aside: For the record, April 2013, was Denver’s fifth coldest April since observations began in 1873. The average temperature was 5.7°F (3.2°C) below normal. 20.4 inches (52 cm) of snow fell during the month making it the eleventh snowiest April on record. Boulder, a city about 30 mi (48 km) to the northwest of Denver and closer to the foothills of the Rockies, had its snowiest April ever with more than 4 ft (122 cm) of snow measured during the month.]
…and, with the last, late-season snowstorm coming on May 1, the hummingbirds still managed to return to the mountains about on schedule this year, arriving during the last week of April. They were hungry after their long migratory flight, so the hummingbird feeder was deployed outside as soon as the first trill of hummingbird wings was heard near the house. Surprisingly, especially for so early in the season, I noticed the level in the feeder dropped very quickly in the first few days after I put it outside. I surmised that we had very hungry birds this year or, maybe, there were many more hummingbirds in the area using our feeder than I had seen.
Then, last weekend, the real explanation for the rapid consumption of hummingbird nectar appeared at the feeder:
That’s a Bullock’s Oriole, and I’m no ornithologist (IANAO 🙂 ), but it, apparently, likes sweetened water and it has a beak small enough to fit into a hummingbird feeder. It had a “field day” taking long gulps out of the feeder, despite the cackling and diving of the hummingbirds as they tried to scare it away from their food source. Needless to say, until the wildflowers start blooming, there will probably be an ongoing confrontation between the oriole (or orioles) and the hummingbirds.