Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)

About the Bird

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Seen/Heard at
Decorah, Decorah North

Baltimore Orioles glean for food in the foliage of trees, shrubs, and bushes. They eat nectar, a wide variety of invertebrates, and fresh fruit. During the summer, their diet includes beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, moths, spiders, snails, caterpillars, webworms, gallworms, raspberries, mulberries, blackberries, and cherries. Although Baltimore Orioles don’t have to cope with ice and snow, they add more fruit and nectar to their diets in the spring and fall to help fuel breeding and migration. They will come to feeders for pieces of fruit, jelly, or sugar water.

Female Baltimore Orioles weave their remarkable hanging nests from grass, strips of grapevine bark, wool, hair, and artificial fibers like twine and fishing line. They nest near N2B and the Decorah North nest, and we’ve seen them stealing nest materials from Decorah North. Their nests are usually 3 to 4 inches deep, with a small opening on top and a bulging bottom chamber for eggs. Baltimore Orioles lay three to seven bluish-white to pale gray oval eggs with brown and black markings concentrated at larger end. They produce one brood per year, although they may reclutch after nest loss. The female incubates eggs for 11-14 days and both males and females feed young, who stay in the nest for 11-14 days before fledging. To learn more, visit Cornell’s website.

Bird Range Maps of North America
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003.
Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA. Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy – Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International – CABS, World Wildlife Fund – US, and Environment Canada – WILDSPACE.
Web Link:
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology Birds of North America:
[/two_thirds] [third class=”field_third”] Baltimore Oriole at Decorah North

General Description
Adult males are a vivid orange and black, with a black head, an orange shoulder patch, an orange rump, and one white bar on their black wings. Adult females are less vivid than males, with pale orange-yellow to yellowish brown heads, breasts, and tails, and two white bars on their dark grey to black wings.

Baltimore Orioles spend the summer in the Decorah area, nesting and raising young before migrating south to the Neotropics. They breed from May to early July, departing for their wintering grounds by mid-September.

6.7-7.5 in/17-19 cm
9.1-11.8 in/23-30 cm
1.1-1.4 oz/30-40 g
Wing Design
Pointed. Optimized for bursts of fast, tightly controlled flight. Excellent at taking off quickly, maneuvering through branches, and avoiding predators.
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Range Map

Range Map