July 14, 2014

A Game of Stones

I’m not sure if this young Baltimore Oriole was looking for something to eat when it started picking up this stone.
It picked it up and dropped it three times that I saw.

 Then it very deliberately flipped it with its bill into the shallow water of the pond.

Icterus galbula

Smaller and more slender than an American Robin, Baltimore Orioles are medium-sized, sturdy-bodied songbirds with thick necks and long legs. Look for their long, thick-based, pointed bills, a hallmark of the blackbird family they belong to.

Baltimore Orioles got their name from their bold orange-and-black plumage: they sport the same colours as the heraldic crest of England’s Baltimore family (who also gave their name to Maryland’s largest city).

Baltimore Orioles sometimes use their slender beaks to feed in an unusual way, called “gaping”: they stab the closed bill into soft fruits, then open their mouths to cut a juicy swath from which they drink with their brushy-tipped tongues.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

No comments: