The lovely Baltimore Oriole is unmistakable and we see them in the early summer, but then they leave by the beginning of July, having bred and raised their families here in Southern Ontario.
They breed as far north as the Near Arctic as well as Quebec, New Brunswick and through the Eastern United States and winter in Mexico.
These are medium-sized birds typically measuring 7" to 8" in length with a wingspan of between 9" and 12".
They have a long tail, are a beautiful orange colour with a black head and have black and white bars on the wings.
As with other birds the male is often larger than the female.
They prefer leafy deciduous trees in open woodlands and forest edges and especially along riverbanks and wooded wetlands.
Except during the mating season, the Orioles are solitary birds, but in spring the males will establish a territory and will display to attract females by singing and chattering to them.
During their display dance they bow with their wings lowered and their tail fanned ... which the females find irresistible!
Once the pair have formed, the female builds the nest which is a tightly woven pouch of plant or animal material which hangs down at the end of a branch.
The hen Oriole lays a clutch of between 3 and 7 eggs in the nest which hatch at the end of 12 to 14 days incubation.
Both parents feed the little hatchlings by regurgitating food for them and they are kept warm and safe by their mother for two weeks at the end of which time, the little ones grow their feathers and are ready to leave the nest.
The food of the Baltimore Oriole is mainly berries, insects, caterpillars and nectar from flowers, and they are often seen sipping nectar from Hummingbird feeders and larger Oriole feeders can also be purchased which have perches for them to sit on while feeding.
Baltimore Oriole by Jo-Anne Cambridge
We have found that half an orange on a post will attract them, and they also love Grape Jelly.
If you want to attract them to your garden a feeder or half an orange is a good way to start, but you also might want to consider planting the foods they enjoy, such as mulberries, cherries, purple grapes, and don't use pesticides!
If there are Orioles around your garden, if you put food out such as oranges and bananas, the parents will bring their young round.
Photo of Male Baltimore Oriole and youngster (left)
Published by kind permission of Maureen Harper
Baltimore Oriole - All About Birds
Let us know where and when you sighted your first returning Baltimore Oriole of the Spring. It is interesting to see when and where the first Orioles are sighted, so we'd be happy to hear about your sighting!
If you get a picture, we'd love to see that too!
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
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