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Bullock’s Oriole: A gift of a photo

By on June 27, 2018 in Columnist with 0 Comments

By Bruce McCammon

I saw my first Bullock’s Oriole several years ago while visiting the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge.

A friend pointed to the bird perched in dense shrubs and identified it for me. I hurried to find a position to take a photo but failed. I left with nothing but a memory of this beautiful bird.

I remember it being bright yellow, smaller than an American Robin and having a bright white patch on black wings.

The good news is that Bullock’s Orioles frequent our area in the spring and summer allowing us to see them when we are out enjoying nature.

This photo was taken about one mile up Number 2 Canyon Road in Wenatchee. My observations of them have always been in rural areas or on the urban fringe. The Horan Natural Area in Wenatchee or along the Apple Capital  Loop Trail are good places to see these beautiful birds.

Details about this bird can be found on the Audubon website (http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/bullocks-oriole).

Bullock’s Oriole by photographer Bruce McCammon

I think of this photo as a gift the bird gave to me. I had been sitting in my truck for about 20 minutes observing distant birds using mock orange and elderberry shrubs as perches as they foraged and sang to stake their areas and attract mates. My binoculars were used more than my camera.

Your chances of seeing wild birds increase if you stop and sit quietly for a few minutes. If you use a vehicle as a blind your chances of seeing nearby birds increase dramatically.

This bright Bullock’s Oriole landed in the bush about 20 feet from my truck window. It posed for me for about a minute before flying off. That was a generous amount of time to take several photos showing many different poses.

I prefer this image to the others because the bird’s head is turned to create a dynamic pose. The catch light in the eye is something I always strive to capture since it adds life to the bird. The clean background helps to make the bird easily visible.

I hope you get to see one of these great birds this season. Take a walk through the Horan area in Wenatchee, visit Porter’s Pond on the eastside Loop Trail, or hike our great trails.

These birds will entertain and delight you if you are fortunate to see them. Go explore the outdoors and you’ll encounter Bullock’s Orioles and many other wonderful birds.


Bruce McCammon is retired, color-blind and enjoys photographing the birds in north central Washington.

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