Baltimore Orioles Provide an Explosion of Color on a Rainy May Weekend

Sunday, May 5, 2019
It's no secret that I love observing nature.  Even more than I love observing, I love sharing it, and during the explosion some refer to as spring....there's a lot to observe.  One of my favorite things to observe all year long are the birds in my backyard.  We are fortunate to have a plethora of species come and go all year round, but during these first weeks of May when birds are migrating back to their summer residences, we are able to observe some brief appearances of some less common varieties.  That was the case this weekend when we were blessed with the company of at least two pairs of Baltimore Orioles.  In all my years of bird watching, I've only caught a quick glimpse in the past, but I'll confess I spent much of my weekend observing and snapping photos of these bright and cheerful feathered guests.

Baltimore Orioles are late migraters, seldom appearing before April-late May and rarely appear before the trees have leafed out.  Females arrive first, followed by the males about a week later.  Usually pairs return to a previously held territory to begin their courtship and nesting season.  Females build a sock-like woven nest, usually beginning in late May.  The nest is usually 3-4" deep with an opening of 2"-3" wide at the top, and 3"-4" wide at the bottom.  Construction materials can include grass, strips of grapevine bark, wool,  horsehair and artificial fibers such as twine, cellophane and fishing line.  My mom always cut short pieces of string for the orioles who would carry them away as quickly as she provided them, so in hopes of convincing mine to stick around....I filled a suet basket full of bits of string and shredded twine.  Orioles only produce one brood a year, consisting of 3-7 eggs.  Incubation period is 11-14 days followed by about two weeks of gourmet regurgitated insects courtesy of mom and dad.

Baltimore Orioles favor open deciduous woodlands and edges, orchards, parks and residential areas with tall shade trees are favorite habitats.  Despite the male's bright colors, you will find him easier to hear than see.  Click here to hear an oriole calls.  Baltimores spend most of their time in the tree canopy.  As for a diet...orioles favor hairy and spiny larvae, spiders, snails, buds, flower nectar, fruits and some seeds.  They love oranges (although at the moment mine are preferring my gourmet seed cylinder).   

Each and every bird specie to visit my feeders brings its own thrill, but not since my winter blue birds arrived a couple of years ago have I been so excited as I was to enjoy my weekend with the orioles.  I'm hoping that the combination of plentiful food, tall trees, open areas and a little luck, these beauties might stick around for more than a few days.  Either way, they have been a true joy and if you aren't lucky enough to have them in your yard, I hope you will enjoy mine.

Thanks for letting me share my excitement as nature provides color and wonder to Life As I See It. Don't forget, you can share the blog with friends through email or on Facebook. You can also subscribe by submitting your email address here:Subscribe  If you enjoyed this post, you can find many more like it in my blog Directory under the category "Directory"    Information for today' s post was found in Birds Nearby by John Eastman and online from All About Birds (  Thanks for stopping by.  Have a great week!
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