When it comes to color and contrast, the Baltimore Oriole can’t be beat. With bright orange against jet black, accented with white, this little bird makes quite the style statement. Such striking beauty doesn’t come quickly. The males are born dull in color similar to the females with grayish heads and a yellowish-orange breast. It takes two full years to earn that fiery orange color. The older male has a jet black head set against his bright orange breast. White bars on his black and orange wings add to the striking contrast.
The Baltimore Oriole has quite the distinction. It’s the namesake for Maryland’s professional baseball team and the official state bird of Maryland. The Baltimore Oriole was an obvious choice for state pride as the colony of Maryland was being settled. The First Lord of Baltimore, George Calvert, whose family initially governed the state, has a coat of arms with a remarkable resemblance to the bird’s striking colors.
The Baltimore Oriole is a little smaller and more slender than the American Robin. It has a cheerful, distinctive song. In fact, you’re more likely to hear these beautiful birds than to get the chance to see one. They tend to feed in the highest branches of trees.
Baltimore Orioles seek deciduous trees. They prefer open woodlands, river banks, and small groves of trees. They’ll make a home at the forest edge but not deep in the forest. In addition to tall trees, they’ll also forage for insects and fruits in brush and shrubbery.
If you want to attract Baltimore Orioles, you might want to try growing fruit trees or nectar-bearing flowers. Orioles love very ripe fruits that are dark in color. They go for the darkest mulberries, the reddest cherries, and the deepest-purple grapes. They may also visit your hummingbird feeders. Another way to attract them is to place cut oranges or even a bit of jelly near your feeders or hanging from trees in your backyard.
If you are interested in making your own oriole feeder, here’s some great information for you.
If you’d like to see some different types of oriole feeders, this link shows you a few ideas.
During the summer, Baltimore Orioles can be found throughout much of the central and eastern United States, as well as in parts of southern Canada. When the weather starts to get cold, they migrate as far south as South America for the winter.
Many people look forward to seeing Baltimore Orioles during the breeding season. Their courtship is a display of song, color, and dance. When trying to impress a mate, the male hops around the female bowing forward and spreading his wings to show her his orange back. If she’s receptive, she’ll respond by fanning her tail, lowering and fluttering her wings and making a chattering call.
Once the two pair up, the female chooses a nest site within her mate’s territory. She’ll build an amazing sock-like nest. The nest is constructed in three stages. First, the females weaves an outer layer of flexible fibers for support. Next, she’ll bring in springy fibers which provides the bag like shape. Then, she’ll weave in a soft lining of downy fibers and feathers to cushion the young. The male sometimes helps by gathering materials. But, he doesn’t do any of the weaving. Baltimore Orioles usually have just one brood during the mating season. Their favorite trees for nesting are elms, maples, and cottonwoods.
Here’s a link to a video of a Baltimore Oriole singing.
This video shows you how to use fruit to attract these beautiful birds.
Baltimore Orioles have an upbeat, distinctive song, striking beauty, and an entertaining courtship. If you get the chance to snap a photo or video of one, please share it with the Cole’s community. Just click below to join the conversation on Facebook. Special thanks to our loyal Facebook fan Linda Leary for nominating the Baltimore Oriole.
Cole’s Wild Bird Products is a family-owned company that distributes wild bird feed and suet products. The company is known for offering the highest quality products on the market. Cole’s also specializes in chile infused seed products designed to make your feeder a bird’s only “hot” spot. Cole’s started in the garage of mom and pop entrepreneurs Richard and Nancy Cole back in the early 1980’s. Today it distributes to retailers nationwide. Cole’s is located in the metro Atlanta area. For more information, visit www.ColesWildBird.com