The Baltimore Oriole is a medium sized songbird about 7-8 inches in length. Their favored habitat is tall deciduous trees, often placing their nests on the highest branches. They eat nectar, fruit and bugs.
Orioles migrate north in spring from their winter digs in Central and Northern South America. The males arrive at the breeding grounds first. They stake a territory claim and sing about it. These territories are rather small and often right next to other Oriole territories. Soon the females arrive, there's more singing and posturing too. By mid May, most of the birds have paired up.
Thanks to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for the cool map!
Male Orioles are have a deep orange chest and rump with black head, shoulders and wings. The female is yellowish orange with olive gray trim.
Female Oriole photo courtesy of Bad Dog Ranch.
The female makes a nest using fibers from plant stalks, a favorite is Milkweed. She weaves a nest. This it is not artful weaving but holds up very well even in high winds. The male does not assist but stays close by during the 5-8 days it takes to construct the nest. He sings.
Some Oriole Family Facts
- a pair has 1 brood per year
- 3-6 eggs in a brood
- incubation 12-14 days, done by female
- nesting: 12-14 days, both parents feed young
- fledging: approximately 7 days
Photo of male Oriole from Macaulay Library
During the fledging period, the female goes into molt, abandons the family and leaves the territory. The male remains with the youngsters until they are independent. The male then goes into his molt but remains in the territory through late summer.