In historic Old Orenco, it is the time of year that an annual migration brings one of the most beautiful birds in North America back to the canopy. Anyone who has walked under the Elm trees in the original town plat can appreciate the size and mass of the canopy. Planted over 110 years ago by the Oregon Nursery Company (Orenco), these trees have provided shade, fresh air, beauty, and food too.
The Evening Grosbeak is a beautiful bird with unmistakable yellow, green, black, and white markings. Every year as the seeds pop out on the elms, the birds return to this small 9-block area of Hillsboro. While they may visit some feeders or a backyard or two nearby, they spend their time here in the canopy 100 feet above the streets, making it hard to see them. But their parrot-like squawk is unmistakable, making it pretty easy to find them. Anyone with the right camera gear should be able to nail down some amazing photos. Bird lovers will want to come out just to walk the area and enjoy the bird’s noisy activity.
The males are brightly colored, and the females are slightly more softly painted, but the beauty is obvious. As a child growing up in this magical place, the annual return of thousands of these birds signaled that school would be out soon. They come in suddenly, and after a few short weeks, they leave just as fast when the seeds run out. They are a playful busy, and noisy bunch.
A little more about the birds: https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/evening-grosbeak
This chunky, big-billed finch wanders widely in winter, descending on bird feeders in colorful, noisy flocks, to thrill feeder-watchers and to consume prodigious amounts of sunflower seeds. Originally a western bird, almost unknown east of the Great Lakes before the 1890s, it now breeds commonly east to New England and the Maritime Provinces. Its eastward spread may have been helped by both the planting of box elders (a favorite food tree) across northern prairies, and the abundance of bird feeders in the Northeast.
To See The Birds Come to Old Orenco – get out, take a walk, look up, and listen for the unmistakable squawk as heard in the video above.