The Beautiful Baltimore Oriole's Life and Facts
Once Called the Northern Oriole
In the past, the Northern Oriole was once comprised of the Baltimore Oriole in the eastern part of the United States, and the Bullock’s Oriole in the western U.S. These two are two distinct and specific species, which in all reality, they really were from the start. In the western part of the Baltimore’s range, both birds will hybridize, as they overlap areas. If you should happen to see a similar oriole with orange above and below the eyes with a black mask, and white on the wings, you have spotted the Bullock’s Oriole.
Maryland's State Bird
Say hello to the state bird of Maryland. The link to Maryland came about in a rather interesting way, as their contrasting black and orange colors matched the family coat of arms belonging to George Calvert, the first Baron Baltimore, who founded Maryland. The male happens to be the sole bright orange and black oriole north of Florida. Some will winter on the southeastern Atlantic coast, and even make it to your feeders, if you entice them with orange halves, nectar, peanut butter, or suet.
Courting and Breeding Season
A courting male will bow to the female that holds his interest, and he will also display by spreading his wings and tail.
During the typical breeding season, they will be generally paired, and out of season they’ll usually be seen solitary. Even after nesting, some males will remain with the family unit. This regal looking oriole forages in both trees and bushes, sometimes quite high. They savor caterpillars, fruits, berries, insects, and sip nectar.
These gorgeous orioles are common in suburban shade trees, open woodlands and outskirts, and river groves. They are very musical, having a two note you-lee whistled call, as well as a rattled chatter. Most birds from different parts of the country will even have their own dialect, shall we say. The Baltimore Oriole happens to be a doubly-blessed bird, for not only is he handsomely attired in his flash of color, that melodious voice will stop you in your tracks. The female’s olive yellow plumage is rather good looking compared to many other birds.
Baltimore Oriole Songs
- Baltimore Oriole Sings, Calls in Southwest Ohio state park. Excellent audio of its call shot in HD -
Video of Baltimore Oriole taken in spring of 2012 near C.J. Brown Reservoir marina in Springfield Ohio. It sings and calls with 3 different videos. Close ups...
This bird is most likely one of the best skilled nest builders of any North American avian. They carefully weave various thin plant fibers, grasses, horsehair, moss, cloth, yarn, and strings. The female is usually the responsible one, and sometimes the male will help her in constructing a rather complicated, hanging pouch. She will sometimes hang inverted for several minutes at a time, making numerous quick strokes with her thin bill. This nest is generally located in deciduous(leafed) trees from 25 to 60 feet on the end of a drooping branch.
This nest was located on the end of a branch on an oak tree. Both parents are feeding nestlings, and they are feeding approximately every twenty minutes to half hour, so I will wager that these birds might be about ten days old on June 11, 2013.
I am aware of another two nests on the east side of Boomer Lake, so this is going to be a good year for the orioles.
I was recently told by someone else, that his father finally had a nest on his property. After living there for fifty years, and never seeing a Baltimore Oriole, he finally is able to share the joys of an active nest.
As soon as I see fledglings, I will definitely add some pictures.
A Couple of Baltimore Oriole Only Facts
Baltimore Orioles occasionally will gape: they stab the closed bill into soft fruits, then open their mouths to cut a juicy swath from which they drink with their brush-covered tongues.
Baltimore Orioles prefer only ripe, dark-colored fruit. They search for the darkest mulberries, the reddest cherries, and the deepest purple grapes. Believe it or not, they will ignore green grapes and yellow cherries even if they are ripe.
After having observed these birds for several years, I have learned that they reuse their nests. Since these birds are naturally remarkable weavers, I have seen their nests survive extensive winds unscathed. After a year off, a three year old nest is once again in use, with no repairs.
© 2013 Deb Hirt