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Orchard Oriole in Monterey County, California

Elgin B. Hurlbert
6 (November-December)
From Field and Study
Online Text

Orchard Oriole in Monterey County, California.-On January 1, 1963, I observed an adult male Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) in my garden in Pacific Grove, Monterey County, California. The bird was observed daily and was still in the area on January 7, 1963. It would forage for larval and adult insects in a toyon (Photinia arbutifolia), a loquat (Eriobotrya japonica), and other garden shrubs for about half an hour and would then fly to the waterfront, 100 feet distant, to work on the blossoms of an aloe (Aloe arborescens) . It appeared to be taking both nectar and insects from the tubular flowers, usually splitting the blossom by forcing its bill deep into the corolla. After about 15 minutes of feeding on the aloe, it would return to the toyon or loquat. This routine was repeated virtually throughout the day.

On January 2, the male was accompanied to the aloe patch by a female, or young male, oriole which appeared to be of the same species. The newcomer also remained in the area, frequenting an aloe patch some 200 yards from that used by the male.

Identification of the adult male was confirmed by Vern Yadon, Curator of the Pacific Grove Museum, and by John Davis of the Hastings Natural History Reservation. This is the second record of the species in California.-ELGIN B. HURLBERT, Pacific Grove, California, January 7, 1963. 

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