First year male Bullock’s Oriole

Rabbitbrush and a first year male Bullock's OrioleRabbitbrush and a first year male Bullock’s Oriole – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Earlier this week while photographing Western Kingbirds I also had opportunities to photograph a first year male Bullock’s Oriole on Antelope Island State Park. It was fun to watch the Bullock’s Oriole follow the kingbirds around but the oriole never came as close as the kingbirds did. For the most part he was actively foraging in the grasses and bushes.

First year male Bullock's Oriole perched on SagebrushFirst year male Bullock’s Oriole perched on Sagebrush – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 1250, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

But every once in a while he would perch on a shrub and look around. I wish I had been closer when I took this image but I do like the inclusion of habitat in the frame.

By “first year” I mean that this male was hatched last year and in this species males exhibit delayed plumage maturation. He will get his adult plumage later.

Life is good.



  1. Humming Bird Lover May 31, 2015 at 1:09 am

    Hi! I can not remembering ever seeing this bird? It is beautiful! You caught the colors and it is so clear! Keep up the great work! Have a good day shooting more!

  2. Utahbooklover May 28, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    I was surprised last year when I first saw a male at my hummingbird feeder; this year I’ve seen both the male and the female. The male is so striking in his colors, while the female resembles the colors of a Western Kingbird. Good to see him in a more natural setting.

  3. Elephant's Child May 28, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Yet another bird that I knew nothing about, and will probably never see. Thank you for the introduction to another beauty.

  4. Susan Stone May 28, 2015 at 6:03 am

    What’s with the little dark bumps on his head? Feathers? Ticks? I especially like the first photo – the rabbitbrush background makes the bird stand out, and since the background is in focus it doesn’t hurt my eyes. (I get using the blurred backgrounds, but for my eyes they don’t do what they are supposed to.)

    • Mia McPherson May 28, 2015 at 6:09 am

      Susan, the ground was wet when I took that image and the bird had been feeding on the ground so those dark bumps may have been dirty or grass seed heads that stuck on its head.

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