SE Colorado Birding

Birding and discussion: A conservation-oriented birding blog that emphasizes low-impact birding and sustainable birding practices together with the enjoyment of birds. Southeast Colorado offers a diversity of habitats which provide premiere birding opportunities. Save Sabal Palm

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Snake-fighting orioles

Birders learn to pay attention when birds are agitated as this may be an indication that a predator is nearby. Usually that predator is a raptor, and sometimes we can find owls this way. So today when I saw 2 male Bullock's Orioles behaving in an agitated manner, I was drawn closer to see why. I thought it possible that one of males might be upset that the 2nd male was near it's nest, but it seemed more than that. I watched closer and soon saw the object of their anger--a Red Racer snake (referred to as a coachwhip snake in Amphibians and Reptiles in Colorado by Hammerson). And it was in the tree that they were in!!!
The two male orioles were soon joined by a female Bullock's Oriole as they scolded the snake. Likely there is an oriole's nest(s) nearby and they were trying to get the snake away from the nest. Red Racer/Coachwhip snakes eat birds eggs so there was good reason for the orioles to be concerned. These snakes also eat birds and I thought the orioles came awfully close to this predator. More on this snake species in the next post, SeEtta


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