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Old Aug 19, 2013, 6:18 PM   #1
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Default Strange Behavior

Hooded Orioles with Monarch caterpillars (Explanation after the pictdures). Taken through thick glass patio door in less than favorable light). The originals were unusable with PSE6 alone, but "rescued" with a trial download of Topaz Labs' InFocus plugin.
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Old Aug 19, 2013, 6:21 PM   #2
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Name:  2-DSC00025r1.jpg
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Size:  45.8 KBcams.com/biweekl

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Our Hooded Orioles have been bringing caterpillars to the nectar feeder and trying to push them into the feeding tubes. The end result is a squashed caterpillar after making the rounds of all four tubes, leaving nothing but an empty skin. If we hadn't been pouring syrup on our pancakes when we first realized what they were doing, we might never have figured it out. One of the caterpillars was clearly identifiable as a Monarch, known for its bad taste, so we think they are sweetening their meal as they squeeze out the contents. The last two photos are before and after "processing" the caterpillar. Food for them and food for thought.

We have two pairs of these birds and their broods - nice to have them here, but this certainly is not doing our backyard butterfly garden any good.

These were "grab shots" taken through the thick glass patio door in less than favorable light, not great, but I was glad at least to be able to document the behavior.


This text (with different pictures) was also posted in the Biweekly Challenge forum:


Food For Thought - Dunking Donuts?
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Last edited by penolta; Aug 27, 2013 at 3:50 PM. Reason: correction of sequence of photos
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Old Aug 19, 2013, 7:42 PM   #3
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Smart birds you have around turning bad tasting food into better tasting one by adding syrup from your feeder. Is this evolution? Bigger bird brains?
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Old Aug 19, 2013, 11:12 PM   #4
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Fascinating, thanks for sharing. That's a pretty bird. The story and content make the pictures much better than if they were just a tack sharp textbook pose.
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Old Aug 20, 2013, 4:44 AM   #5
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Cool - Fascinating !

May be they will be asking you to fill up the feeder with more juice as it looks like they have already emptied it
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Old Aug 20, 2013, 1:23 PM   #6
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Thanks all for the comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NHL View Post
Cool - Fascinating !

May be they will be asking you to fill up the feeder with more juice as it looks like they have already emptied it
Between the Orioles, HouseFinches and Hummingbirds they empty it every day!I think the fact that the Orioles are attracted to the plastic flowers may indicate that they use real flowers the same way, but I have never encountered mention of this behavior anywhere before.
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Old Aug 27, 2013, 2:57 PM   #7
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Are any of the University bird labs (e.g. Cornell) interested in sequences like this? Perhaps others have noticed this behaviour, but perhaps not. Might be interesting to get a response from them

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