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      Nature Report: Hooded Oriole

      Tucked into their tiny cup of a nest four little hooded orioles pop up expectantly with the imminent arrival of a meal delivered by their mother. Somehow, she chooses the appropriate mouth to insert the bug and then lingers for a few moments just to be sure all is well with her brood. Hooded orioles occur across the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, but don't venture much farther north than deep South Texas. Throughout the morning the female brings a variety of insects to her hungry brood suspended in the sturdily woven nest beneath a palm frond. The nest is a marvel of engineering built primarily by the female poking holes with her beak in the frond and then expertly weaving fibers thru the leaf. Occasionally, the bright orange male with a black face and throat shows up with a meal. Sporting an orange hood above the eyes and covering the head this distinct feature gives the hooded oriole its name. But for every one trip the brightly hued male makes, the female makes about 10, and it takes a lot of insects to feed this hungry foursome. What goes in must come out; so taking out the garbage is an additional task that must be fulfilled. From the time they hatch, it takes about 14 days for the chicks to fledge. And it will only be a matter of days before these little orioles take flight, as they are already vigorously testing out their wings. So papa may need to speed up his deliveries to satisfy the rapidly growing foursome that is on the verge of leaving the nest. With your Nature Report I'm Richard Moore