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10 Interesting Facts About Baltimore Orioles

474px-Baltimore_oriole_maleThe striking black and bright orange colors of Baltimore Orioles make them highly desirable backyard birds, but did you know that they’re acrobatic foragers that look for insects and nectar in trees?

These birds, found mainly in the eastern and central portions of the United States, are very unique. We’ve assembled 10 interesting facts about Baltimore Orioles that will make you love them even more.

1. Baltimore and Bullock’s orioles are very similar and even hybridize where their ranges overlap. For many years, scientists believed they were one species (Northern Orioles) until genetic testing revealed they were in fact separate.

2. The oldest banded Baltimore Oriole in the wild lived for 11 years and 7 months, but they can live up to 14 years in captivity.

3. Baltimore Orioles got their name because of their bright orange and black colors, which were the same as the crest for the family of Lord Baltimore.

4. They’re also the state bird of Maryland, which is apt because Cecilius Calvert, Second Baron Baltimore, was one of Maryland’s founders.

5. According to Cornell’s All About Birds, orioles sometimes feed in an unusual, but clever, way. They stick their closed beak into a soft fruit and then open their mouths, which creates a cup of fruit juice that they drink with their tongues.

6. Baltimore Orioles are very sensitive to insecticides. Insecticides have the adverse effect of killing insects that orioles eat, and the poison can also directly kill orioles if they’re exposed to it.

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Image by Henry McLin

7. The nest of a Baltimore Oriole looks like a stuffed sock that hangs at the very edge of a tree branch high in the air to keep predators away. It can take a female as long as 15 days to construct the nest, which is woven out of various fibers like animal fur, twine, wool, bark and other materials.

8. Baltimore Orioles are generally solitary birds, except during mating season. However, a group of orioles is called a “split” or “pitch,” according to WhatBird.

9. One of the Baltimore Orioles favorite things to eat is caterpillars. This is important because their appetite for caterpillars and other pests can help protect forests.

10. Baltimore Orioles are attracted to the color orange, which is why getting an orange oriole feeder will increase your chances of attracting these beautiful birds to your yard.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.

6 Comments

  1. Number 8: During the winter, in South Carolina, we see large pitches of Baltimore orioles.

  2. We’re do they stay

  3. They live year-round in one of my holly trees in NC. This week of Christmas into new years they are mad pecking at the windows.

  4. there is an oriole living in my backyard right now

  5. Found facts of Orioles,I think the Oriole is one of the most beautiful birds along with Cardinal,blue jays and Wood Becker. And of course the American Bald Eagle

  6. I agree with you when you commented on beautiful birds. I also think the bright by yellow goldfinches are also beautiful

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