Baltimore Oriole Feeder

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This is a tale of a Baltimore Oriole Feeder sans Baltimore Orioles.

When we vacation on the Cape I always visit the Bird Watchers General Store to see what items I might purchase for my feathered friends. A lot of people I know have great luck attracting Baltimore Orioles with orange slices and specialized feeders. After looking at some flimsy plastic feeders I settled on this glass and iron one which seems indestructible. So far no Orioles but this Gray Catbird seems to like it.

This weekend I’m shopping for oranges so this saga is not finished.

Gray Catbird by John Poltrack on


Gray Catbird by John Poltrack on

Naturally it figures that my nemesis would have a taste for grape jelly.


Thief by John Poltrack on

This fellow was actually licking the jelly off his paws. Still waiting for an Oriole.


Thief by John Poltrack on


Feeding birds at the Ipswich River Sanctuary

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Little darling of the snow,
Careless how the winds may blow,
Happy as a bird can be,
Singing, oh, so cheerily,
Chickadee-dee! Chickadee-dee!

When the skies are cold and gray,
When he trills his happiest lay,
Through the clouds he seems to see
Hidden things to you and me.
Chickadee-dee! chickadee-dee!

Very likely little birds
Have their thoughts too deep for word,
But we know, and all agree,
That the world would dreary be
Without birds, dear chickadee!

– Author Unknown

The Ipswich River Sanctuary in Topsfield is the largest Audubon Society Preserve in Massachusetts encompassing 2,800 acres. There are 12 miles of interconnected trails winding through a landscape shaped by glacial activity 15,000 years ago.

A co-worker told me that the smaller birds were so used to visitors that they would eat from your hand, something that I had to experience. For years I’ve fed birds at the feeder and only occasionally would have a brave chickadee alight on my hand to grab a sunflower seed. It was quite thrilling to have chickadees, thufted titmouse and nuthatches gather as we walked the trail.

We walked along the Rockery Trail which features a grotto constructed in 1905 of large boulders. It was originally part of an arboretum at Bradshaw Farm which featured exotic trees. The land was donated by the owner Thomas Emerson Proctor (1873 -1949) to the Audobon Society. A staff member mentioned that the Society had removed the non-native trees but on the trail I noticed several varieties that I have never seen before in the Northeast.

The weather was ideal for our visit, unseasonably warm for the last day of January with no ice or snow to negotiate on the board walks. There were many families with young children, all with their hands outstretched with bird seed and feathered diners. This venue is highly recommended. We plan to return.

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary
A brave chickadee grabs a seed from my hand
Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary
Ginny feeds a chickadee
Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary
A Tufted titmouse gives me a look