A visitor to New York became lost in Manhattan this past winter but didn’t seem particularly concerned about his predicament. A wandering Scott’s Oriole had apparently flown thousands of miles across the country from a desert in either southern Arizona or western Mexico (where he should have been) and landed in Manhattan’s Union Square in early December 2007. The sight of the accidental tourist delighted the local birding community as well as casual patrons of the park throughout March 2008.
As is typical with all oriole species, the handsome bird donned a black hood and upon his wings were 2 white wing bars. However, where our native Baltimore Oriole wears orange, this fellow wore yellow. Expert birders determined that this feathered friend was a first-year male, based on his molting plumage.
The Saturday that the photo accompanying this article was taken, Union Square, as usual, was teeming with people. There was a political rally happening at the adjacent plaza and artists were hawking their works just steps away. All the while, the bird was bouncing around between a holly bush and a small evergreen tree unfazed by all the activity around him. (Meanwhile, on the other side of the park, a Red-tailed hawk was observed quietly roosting in a tree.)
People had thrown sliced fruit and bread on the ground for the oriole to chow down on and he quickly adopted the diet of a New York City street bird.
The adventurous bird was last spotted in early April in Tompkins Square Park on the Lower East Side.
The Scott’s Oriole was named after General Winfield Scott, whose nickname happened to be “Old Fuss and Feathers”. And there definitely was lot of fuss in midtown earlier this year over an avian visitor sporting yellow and black plumes.