In early Spring when the Baltimore Oriole makes its first appearance we receive emails asking if we can identify a bird that is black and also has "bright orange feathers". A bird you won't forget once you've seen one.
You know spring has sprung when you see and hear this bird at the top of trees making its rivals know he's claming territory.
The Baltimore Oriole bird makes its way from Mexico and South America its wintering grounds, to the US and Canada to begin its mating, nesting, and feeding habits.
These birds measure 7 - 8 1/2 inches long. The male bird is black with orange underparts, rump, shoulders, and sides of tail. His wings have 2 white wing bars.
The females is olive above, yellowish below with 2 white wing bars. This particular Oriole bird is found east of the Rockies.
The male has an orange face, black eyeline and a large white wing patch.
The female Bullock has a yellowish head and breast and whitish belly.
While the major league team adopted this birds name and colors, the bird itself, got its name from George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, a 17th-century nobleman whose coat of arms used the same colors.
Because the two birds interbreed in the Central Plains and have similar types of habits, the American Ornithologists Union renamed both birds and called them The Northern Oriole.
Although research on the relationship of these two birds is ongoing.
The mating season begins in late April to early May. The males arrive 2 or 3 days before the females and begin claiming their territories. Singing
from treetops in their effort to attract a mate. Their singing is almost constant until they mate with a female. Unlike the Northern Mockingbird though, these
birds do not sing at night.
Generally, any singing late in the season is from unmated or immature birds. Once the birds have found a mate they defend their territory and begin nesting.
Nesting Habits - Where they Nest
Like many other birds, the female Baltimore Oriole is the primary nest builder. Making a hanging nest made from plant fibers and suspended from a branch 6 to 90 feet above ground.
While it's quite common for them to return each year to the same territory, it's rare that they will use the same nest itself. They often take parts of old nest to build
a new one, so you may see them at the old nest site.
Bird watchers will find the best viewing of the Baltimore Orioles nest when the leaves are off the trees. You'll see them at the end of branches high in shade trees.
The prefered habitat of Orioles is in open woodlands of deciduous trees near parks, gardens, and in suburban settings.
In this tightly woven hanging nest, the female lays 3 to 6 pale blue with dark marks eggs.
Incubation of the eggs last 12 to 14 days and the young birds will leave the nest in 12 to 14 days after hatching.
They nest only once each season.
Feeding Habits - What Orioles Eat
The diet of the Baltimore Oriole consist of insects, fruits, and flower nectar. You can attract this bird to eat from your backyard fruit feeder by setting out orange halves or grape jelly. Our recommended Fruit Feeder
Another option is by providing a sugar water mixture. 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. Boil sugar water mixture and let cool.
This is the same mixture used to feed hummingbirds. To check out all the things that will attract these birds just visit here: See All Oriole Products
Often we're asked "what happened to our birds"? "they were here every day eating our oranges and grape jelly and now they're gone". What happens is:
while they are nesting and feeding young, the diet changes to add protien so that the young birds grow healthy. This means they are hunting insects instead of visiting your feeders.
Don't worry, often the adults will bring they're young to the feeders once they've left the nest. So be prepared for a return after a 4 week absence.
Begining in April, these birds begin to arrive at their breeding grounds roughly East of the Rockies.
The winter migration to the South can begin as early as July but you may see them well into September or a little later in their Southern range.