Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Baltimore Oriole

These gorgeous Baltimore Orioles (Icterus galbula) have been in our yard since the first of May. At first it was only the male we noticed at the feeders, about a week later the female began coming around.
I put several liquid feeders out with oriole food in them, but they seem to prefer the orange halves and apple jelly as you can see from the photos. I normally put out grape jelly for them, but I was out and decided to try apple instead. They seem to love it. In fact when the dish is empty they sit in the top of the tree and scold me. After refilling it, they will fly directly to it.
Orioles are one of the most vibrantly colored birds in the avian world. They brighten up any landscape and I look forward to their return each spring. Birders all over the country eagerly await their return during spring migration and for good reason. Their bright orange and black plumage is stunning, their song is cheerful and beautiful to listen to.
These birds were given the name of Baltimore Oriole in honor of Lord Baltimore, as their coloring resembled the Coat-Of-Arms of his lordship. The Major league baseball team the Baltimore Orioles were named after this bird and this bird is also the State bird of Maryland.
This species will be found throughout Eastern North America. while there are several orioles, the Baltimore Oriole is the only one with an entirely black head. This species will breed with Bullock's Oriole where their numbers overlap. This earns the offspring the name of Northern Oriole and they are fertile hybrids, able to breed. After building a "cup-like" nest in a thicket hanging from a high branch on a tree, the female will incubate 3 to 5 grayish, or bluish-white eggs. Both males and females will feed the young, and they will be ready to leave the nest and fly for the first time in about 15 days. In the wild these beauties will feed on insects, caterpillars, berries, blossoms, and fruit. They readily come to backyard feeders and are often seen feeding from hummingbird feeders. They seem to have a sweet tooth. Before these gorgeous birds leave the area and head south try putting out assorted jellies, oriole food, orange or grapefruit halves. Provide plenty of fresh water and you most assuredly will have orioles brighten your landscape as well. In the late summer or early fall they will begin their fall migration and fly to Mexico, Central American and South America. Returning again to our area in May.

33 comments:

  1. When should I put out oriole feeders in central Missouri?

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    1. I would suggest putting them out sometime around the 3rd week of April. I live in the NW part of the state about an hour north of KC and I usually put mine out the first of May.

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  2. I had a few a couple of years ago but last year not one so i put out the oranges and the liquid hope I have better luck I live down by the lake of the Ozarks could I be doing something wrong the first I didn't have any thing out

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  3. I had several Orioles for about a week and a half starting the last few days in April. They preferred the grape jelly over the oranges and nectar. I went through about 6 32 ounce jars of jelly. I saw one Oriole this morning and have not seen any more today. I think they are gone because I still have their food out. I live in Warrenton which is about 60 miles west of St. Louis and 60 miles east of Columbia. I've never seen any Orioles during the summer, only in spring for a short time. I guess they just pass through on the way to the north eastern states.

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    1. I live a little north of I70 abt 50 miles NE of Columiba, I had oriole several years ago, haven't seen any since. What do you put the jelly in? This year I am putting out a prong feeder for orange halves. Do they like food up higher or lower?

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    2. I Just us a plastic lid off a butter dish and place it on an old stump. I've also used metal jar lids and they work too. I've never placed my oriole feeders higher than 4 1/2 to 5 feet off the ground. I will say we had more orioles and Better luck attracting them when the feeders weren't too close to human activity. Ours always seemed shy about visiting the feeders if we were too close. Once they found the food and became comfortable with us, I was able to sit about 15 to 20 feet away and watch them without scaring them away. I found their favorite jelly is apple jelly. They would scold me from the trees when the feeder was empty. 😄

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    3. Today in Prairie Grove AR I had two male orioles feeding on my window hummingbird feeder- such a shock to look out the window and have them looking back. I think the cold weather has made them desperate. I put a sliced orange out on the deck post but they are still going to the hummingbird feeder.

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    4. Just seen our first ever trying to feed from our hummingbird feeder in North east Arkansas. Put out grape jelly hope he comes back

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  4. I just had a male Baltimore Oriole visit my feeders this morning. I sliced a couple of oranges in half and placed them out on the feeder post for him. He's stunning. I hope he stays

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  5. I live just east of Kansas City, MO. I was so excited when I had half a dozen Orioles visiting my feeders for the past 2 weeks. However, I have not seen any today or yesterday. :( I fear that they, too, may have just been passing through and did not choose to stay and nest. I hope that isn't true. I will continue to stock my feeder with oranges & jelly (the purple finches & woodpeckers will be happy). Hopefully there will be more orioles who stop by to visit.

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  6. I live in South central Missouri. I had orioles for several days straight the end of April, but haven't seen any since. I'm holding out hope that they are busy nesting and will return to my feeder soon. They are such a beautiful bird! I look forward to them and my Indigo Buntings every year!

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  7. I couldn't get orioles until I put out the grape jelly in middle of May and I believe the scouts found it - have had orioles off and on all summer. First I would see them every day and then I believe they may of been nesting and only would see every several days. The last couple of weeks I have seen them daily until about three days ago and have not seen any since. Does this sound like their usual habit? And should I leave the feeders up for a few more weeks? I live in Central Mo.

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  8. I live in Kansas City and just put up my first Oriole feeder with grape jelly. What time of day do they like to eat?

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    1. Generally they eat in the morning and again towards late afternoon and early evening. But they may stop by your feeders anytime during the day. I've noticed mine more frequently around 8 or 9 in the morning and again around 5 or 6 in the evening.

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  9. We've never before had orioles so we're amazed at the colors this week as an entire family are visiting our hummingbird feeders. They come in the morning & early afternoon or any time our backyard is quiet.

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  10. We've been amazed as we've never had orioles before that a whole family has been visiting our hummingbird feeders any time our backyard is quiet.

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  11. I didn't know that we had Orioles here in MO til I saw them eating from my DIY wine bottle hummingbird feeder last year. I've set out a feeder just for them this this Spring. I'll have to add some oranges. Thank you!

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  12. We live in Southern Johnson County KS. We put out a feeder and grape jelly and we have 5 or 6 orioles steady all day since about May 8th or 9th. They mostly go for the jelly. We just tape plastic butter lids to our deck railing. Like all birds they spend as much time fighting as eating.

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  13. I am in western Cass County, less than a mile from the Kansas line. We've been feeding the orioles grape jelly for about three years now, and this year instead of just migrating through after May, they stayed. We've had 7-10 all season, and even now, late in August, we see a mix of mature males and females and first-year orioles. At the height of feeding, they'll go through a half jar of jelly a day. They also feed at our suet/peanut butter block.

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  14. we have them here in ray county about the first of may, was wondering when they move on?

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    1. They usually move on in August, at least north of KC where I live it’s when I stop seeing them.

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  15. Up to six at a time at the feeder this morning in Northern Howell Co.

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  16. I have about six here in St. Francois county, 70 miles Southeast of St. Louis. They showed up a few days ago and were feeding on the hummingbird feeders. Been here 27 years and this is the first time we've seen them.

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  17. This is the first year that I have had Orioles. I saw one, and decided I had to try to get more, so I put out jelly, grapes that were going to waste in the frige, and canned pears that I had on hand, I almost wish now that I hadn't done that, I have so many now that I run out of food for them every third day. I live down by the Arkansas border. I am wondering how long they will stay. I have to buy more than one jar of jelly when I go to the store.

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  18. We had a pair, male/female here in mid April. Soon another pair showed up and now, May 6, 2018, we have three pairs. Feeding at the three hummingbird feeders. also put out oranges, apples, suet, jelly in a dish on a pole in the yard. They empty the nectar feeders everyday and gobble up the treats in the dish. Wish I could keep them here in Rolla, MO. They are so gorgeous. My cats are captivated and spend much time watching them from inside by the windows.

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  19. We are in Columbia MO and have only ever seen one or two for a day or two. This year, we have gobs! It's been so entertaining to watch them. They're just gorgeous! Will look forward to seeing if they (at least some of them) stick around this summer.

    By the way, I think we have also had a Prothonotary Warbler around as well. He's very skittish so hard to get a good look. He's eating the grape jelly though. We thought he was an oriole at first, but he has white under his tale. Anybody know anything about them?

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  20. Saw one here last year. This year we had 2 show up at first. Now we have 20 or more. Feeding them grape jelly but it is getting really hard to find. Also orange slices, grapes and mangoes. We are in southern Howell county. Hoping some will stay to nest.

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  21. I saw one in my tree 3 days ago so went and bought some oranges. I put a half out yesterday on my deck post and this morning had at least 6 feeding so I put more oranges out. I enjoyed a 2 hour show of watching them eat all morning. I hope they hang out a while! Liberty, MO

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  22. We've been feeding 20 Baltimore Orioles about 2 weeks. They are getting scarce. Are they nesting or did they leave?

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    1. That is a lot of Orioles! My best guess is that they showed up to your feeders in large numbers shortly after returning from migration. They found a great food source in your yard to replenish their energy from migrating. Now they are dispersing to other areas. They should start nesting soon.

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  23. We are in Rogersville, MO. Just a bit south of Springfield. H ave been feeding many many birds daily on our rural property. Love to watch them. We have 4 bird baths and even heat 2 in the winter time so they have water. Saw a couple Orioles last year for short time. This year i was prepared with oranges but could only find grape jam not jelly. They are eating the jam but not the oranges. We also have a humming bird feeder right next to it and they seem to feed at it too. Orioles are so beautiful so I'm hoping the might stay around and nest since I've seen both male and female.

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  24. I have spotted as many as five 5 baltimore oriole males at the same time, waiting to feed at our grape jelly dish. A similar number of females are busy feeding here as well.... we are in western Shawnee, Kansas. Also have a pair of orange tannagers?sp feeding on nutty peanut suet outside our deck windows.

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