Bullock’s orioles (Icterus bullockii) nest each year in the cottonwoods surrounding our house (Lookout CA). Oriole nests are delicate pouches that hang from their upper rim and sway high in the trees.
An oriole nest is anchored to a forked branch at two or three (or more) points and is woven from hair, twine, plant fibers, bark and roots. string – anything that can be woven into the nest. The female makes actual loops and knots while weaving her nest. A single nest can contain thousands of loops, knots and stitches. Orioles are born knowing how to build a nest, but time and practice improve the skill.
Recent high winds brought down an oriole nest in our yard. Note that the nest remains anchored and it was the twig that snapped. Horsehair and bailing twine are common raw materials around our area. The orioles also discovered how to enter an outbuilding on our property and filch fishing line for their nests. (See “A Mystery” from 06-06-2014) This particular nest also includes hair from our cats.
The Bullock’s orioles are now wintering in Central America, but we look forward to their return in the late spring.