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An Opportunity From an Oriole

By Liz Neroni, Naturalist

The Baltimore Oriole

I definitely wouldn’t consider myself a birder. As a naturalist, I have a lot of exposure to that specific community. Some of my closest friends have a deep passion for grabbing their binoculars and hunting down as many feathered beasts as possible, checking them off a list- year after year. Birding is a huge outdoor activity that about 50 million Americans partake in.

Growing up, my mom observed birds. Causally, she would fill the feeders and simply enjoy the birds as they made a presence. That is more my speed. I love joining my friends on their birding adventures, even if I get distracted by a turtle or flower along the way. I enjoy listening, even though I can’t identify all the birds by call. I’m fond of seeing birds, even if I have seen them a hundred times before. However, one bird stands out more so than others. That one is the Baltimore Oriole.

I started my Naturalist career with the Maryland Park Service. As the state bird, I was introduced to this amazing animal. Their beautiful songs, intricate nest weaving skills (as shown in the picture), and their sheer beauty fascinated me. I learned that this bird would fly to SOUTH AMERICA, every year to spend the winter in the rainforest (something I wish I could do). It wasn’t until I came back to Ohio that I started to realize how deep my love affair really was.

Currently we have been remodeling our house. The focus has been getting the inside complete, which means the outside hasn’t gotten any attention. Native plant gardens, fruit trees, herb and veggie plots, a sitting area, and other whimsical ideas have been put on hold. Yet, I was just given an oriole feeder, which I somewhat reluctantly hung up. I never thought I would get orioles to actually come and it seemed premature for my grand outdoor plans. However, the next day, I saw a flash of orange, and my heart leapt. An ORIOLE in my yard!!!! All hard work on the interior of the house stopped and I just stood in awe of the moment.

The Messenger documentary

Whether you travel the world or just focus on the birds in your own backyard, anyone has the ability to get involved. Let nature inspire you. Allow it to mess up your plans, change your mind, or influence your actions. The joy I get from seeing this bird arrive after migrating miles and miles is something that will never get old, but it is something that might not happen in the future. Birds face SO many challenges like habitat loss, window strikes, unsupervised domestic cats, use of pesticides, and climate change. Which are all things YOU can help tackle. If you are looking for a good documentary to watch, please check out ‘The Messenger’.

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