Hooded Orioles by Jessyca Frederick

Orioles

I’m so excited to have participated in the Palm Springs Benches project in collaboration with The Main Street Merchants of downtown Palm Springs, the Palm Springs Public Arts Commission. #PSPublicArts

My bench is located at 865 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262, in front of My Little Flower Shop. It is between the restaurant 849 and the Trina Turk store on the west side of Palm Canyon Dr.

About the Art

Washingtonia filifera
Photo by Jessyca Frederick

As my first foray into Public Art, I’m super excited to share with anyone/everyone a little bit about what I love – Palm trees & orioles!

The bench design is an abstraction of our native Washingtonia filifera (California Fan Palm) trees — which aren’t even trees at all! They’re like giant, overgrown grasses.

The oriole, Icterus cucullatus, uses Southern California and Arizona for breeding in the early Spring through early Summer. I call them Ferrari birds, both because of their striking yellow color and because they move swiftly and gracefully.

Hooded Oriole – Male – San Luis Obispo, CA, USA
Female Hooded Oriole
Hooded Oriole – Female – McClellan Ranch, Cupertino, CA, USA

They are sometimes called the palm-leaf oriole because they sew their nests to the bottom of palm fronds. We were lucky to have two separate nesting pairs this summer! The first couple was so quiet I didn’t notice them building the nest. The second time, I could hear the mama poking holes in the fronds with her beak so she could thread the palm strings through it. Here’s a photo of one of their nests.

Hooded Oriole nest
Hooded oriole nest in the Palm Springs area, June 2020. Photo by Jessyca Frederick.

Speaking of noticing them, often before I see them flying their aerodynamic little bodies around my yard, I hear them. Their distinctive “veek” call is unmistakable and signals that Spring has arrived in our yard. Their other call, described as chetet by the Audubon Society is sometimes my first sign they’re in the yard.

If you’d like to learn more about these amazing birds, I strongly suggest these resources:

Acknowledgements

I’d like to extend a special Thank You! to Laura Shape of Viv & Edie. Laura kindly made stencils for me so the typography on the side of my bench would look professional. Her handmade evening bags are each stunning, one of a kind works of art. Follow Viv & Edie on Instagram.

Completely indispensable was Tysen Knight. A part of the Palm Springs Public Arts Commission team, Tysen made sure I had paint, helped me every day with tasks great and small, and was always on call for whatever I needed. Without him it might have taken two weeks instead of one and so I am grateful for Tysen’s role as my guide. Follow Tysen on Instagram.

2 Comments

  1. Marie says:

    WOW! Spectacular! And a great article also – with info on the Washingtonians and the birds. You are a wonder!

    1. Thank you! You’re so kind 🙂

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