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.