Oak Flowers

Rose-breasted grosbeak eating flowers (photo by Chuck Tague)
Rose-breasted grosbeak eating flowers (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, a bird gave me the hint two days ago when I saw my “first of year” rose-breasted grosbeaks in Schenley Park.  They were munching oak flowers.

Rose-breasted grosbeaks are quite fond of oaks and don’t return until the oak flowers bloom.

In fact, 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 blog on Leaf Out.

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


(photo by Chuck Tague)

4 thoughts on “Oak Flowers

  1. 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. I thought I’d seen some rose-breasted grosbeaks eating oak tassels, and I was glad to have your confirmation. I linked to this post; hope you don’t mind.

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