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      Nature Report: Altamira Oriole

      Suspended precariously from a spindly branch some 30 feet up in a towering oak, dangles a swaying pear shaped nest.

      Suddenly, a flash of orange appears, and a vibrant altamira oriole clings briefly to the swinging nest before slipping in with a plump worm for her brood. Tucked in the bottom of the tightly woven nest are several young, usually three or four.

      Apparently, it doesn TMt take long to find a hungry youngster, and the female quickly departs in search of another savory insect. The tropical altamira oriole doesn TMt nest any farther north than the tip of southernmost Texas.

      This vivid orange bird with the velvet black wings and throat bestows a brilliant splash of color to the remaining wildlands of the Rio Grande Valley. Throughout the afternoon, both the male and female bring a variety of insects to their offspring.

      They are similarly plumaged, but the male is more tentative with his offerings. The female is all business and swoops in regularly every five to ten minutes.

      After alighting directly on the nest, she rarely pauses before diving directly in with her snack. The male however has a much more deliberate approach and first arrives high in the branches, before slowly moving down to the top of the nest.

      He then slips in to make his delivery.

      He also makes about half the trips as his mate.

      The female not only does the majority of the grocery shopping, she built a masterful hanging stocking of woven grass, and that is something worthy of song.