Baltimore Orioles (also known as Icterus galbula ) are one of the brightest and easiest birds to spot in eastern North America. You have to look up to spot these brilliant beauties, as the bright orange plumage blazes atop higher branches of trees. If you are honored enough to spot an Oriole, listen carefully, as their song is a rich whistle that is considered an omen that Spring is right around the corner.
Size and Color:
Baltimore Orioles are small and slender in shape compared to their cousin, the American Robin. They have sturdy bodies with long legs and thicker necks with thick pointed bills, a characteristic of the blackbird family that they belong to.
How can I tell the males from the females?
Adult Male Orioles have a bright orange flame plumage with a solid black head. If you catch a glimpse of their wings, there is a single white bar on his back. Young males and females are not as bright – a yellow-orange hue, with a grayish head and back. The female has 2 bold white wing stripes along her feathers.
These bright birds use their beak in a very unusual way… with a closed beak, they stab into soft, ripe fruit and then open their mouth so that they can drink the juicy nectar from the fruits.
Orioles seem to prefer only ripe, darker fruits such as purple grapes, red cherries, and oranges. If you are looking to bring these orange beauties to your backyard sanctuary, be sure to add a feeder that holds fruit (shown to the left).
Note: During mating season, they prefer insects, as they are high in protein for the extra energy needed for laying eggs and nest building.
Ready to purchase a feeder for your backyard? Click on the picture to order now!
The female is the primary nest builder. She uses recycled fibers from other nests and unlike most birds, she weaves her nest. Her nests are high in trees with an opening 3-5 inches across and 3-4 inches deep. The shape, when finished looks like a sock hanging from a tree. She anchors her nest to the tree in her male mate’s territory.
Note: Males are VERY aggressive during mating season. The have been known to attach larger animals in order to protect their nest and eggs.
It is not until the fall of their second year that young male Baltimore Orioles molt into their brilliant orange adult plumage!
Ready to Attract Baltimore Orioles to Your Backyard?
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Lori & Ginger