Date: 5/7/20 1:32 am
From: Frank Enders (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Wake County Swainson's Warbler--as Orchard Oriole territoriality?
As I remember them, Swainson's along Roanoke River "gallery forest" below Weldon are well spaced, but several audible from one spot in river is not unusual.

I have been (too) sloppy in keeping records of birds here, but Orchard Orioles this spring show what is discussed in this thread.

First arrival was actually an immature bird. Two total birds arrived, but only one seen. Nothing the next day, then two singers, heard only.

The fourth day was pandemonium. 2 and 3 bird chases with much high intensity call notes (all now adult males). Not much song. I even asked myself why one oriole was blue, a Blue Grosbeak male,but he was only slightly involved in the confusion which lasted several hours. I guessed there were 10-15 male orioles involved. Hard to tell, with chases lasting hundreds of feet,but no significant physical contact seen (unlike Chipping Sparrows).

The next day quieter, with subsequent days sorting out the usual 8-10 males just singing on these 5.97 acres.

I figured several explanations. Perhaps a migrant flock which then broke up and spread elsewhere locally or farther north. Perhaps the birds were trying to be at the east-facing slope where most of the action occurred (the broiler house dug down some 10 feet from the field to the west)--insect activity had to start at the warmest site.

Never had seen such action in 40 years here. But, I am not always up at dawn,and often work otherwise.

Females have since arrived. And, as persons commenting on the warbler describe, intense initial aggression precedes normal breeding/nesting.

Frank Enders, Halifax, NC

Do naturalists who study cold-blooded animals value the (warmer) sunsets more than students of (warm-blooded) birds? (One of whom regularly here impugns the character of those who are not out at dawn.)

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