Apr 28 2009

Oak flowers

Published by at 6:05 am under Schenley Park,Songbirds,Trees

Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak (photo by Chuck Tague)On Friday evening my husband said, “My eyes are itching.  Something new must have bloomed.”

I was stumped.  I don’t know what he’s allergic to and I had no idea what was blooming.  I don’t have pollen allergies any more (they mysteriously disappeared when I was in my 30s) so I can’t even cue on my own reactions to figure out the cause.

However, I think I figured it out Sunday morning when I went birding in Schenley Park.  There I saw my “first of year” rose-breasted grosbeaks and they were munching oak flowers.  Rose-breasted grosbeaks are quite fond of oaks and don’t return until the oak flowers bloom.

They aren’t the only species who do this.  Many birds time their journey north to coincide with the blooming of their favorite trees.  I learned this from Chuck Tague years ago and was reminded of it by his April 22nd blog on spring migration.

So now I have an answer.  My husband is probably allergic to oak pollen.

(photo by Chuck Tague)

p.s. There used to be a link here to Chuck Tague’s 4/22/2009 blog but it broke when he lost the blog history on his website.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Oak flowers”

  1. faith Cornellon 29 Apr 2009 at 8:44 am

    I live in Bridgeville & live in a condo which faces the woods. Last yr. on our little deck I put a small feeder of just black oil sunflower seeds & we had a pair of grosbreaks & later in spring/summer the young came. I was so pleased. I had lived in Conway & never saw any. I haven’t seen any yet this season.
    Love your site. Have watched the falcons for a few years, tell my relatives all over the country & never went to your blog which are better pictures. I also almost jumped up& down when I saw all those newer babies. Such a wonderful program and so successful. They come here to hunt. we have alot of small squrrels, chipmunks & of courst other birds (doves/blue jays (yuk), and a myriad of the small birds who come to my feeder.
    Faith Cornell

  2. faith Cornellon 30 Apr 2009 at 8:47 am

    “our” grosbeak came to the deck yesterday. Made my heart sing. Faith Cornell

  3. Kristenon 01 May 2009 at 12:21 am

    As a fellow allergy sufferer, I can point your husband toward this useful site (the local pollen counter):

    http://www.aaaai.org/nab/index.cfm?p=allergenreport&stationid=163

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