Baltimore Oriole

 The rich, whistling song of the Baltimore Oriole, echoing from treetops near homes and parks, is a sweet herald of spring in eastern North America. Look way up to find these singers: the male’s brilliant orange plumage blazes from high branches like a torch. Nearby, you might spot the female weaving her remarkable hanging nest from slender fibers. Fond of fruit and nectar as well as insects, Baltimore Orioles are easily lured to backyard feeders.
 Keys to identification Help
Typical Voice

Size & Shape
Smaller and more slender than an American Robin, Baltimore Orioles are medium-sized, sturdy-bodied songbirds with thick necks and long legs. Look for their long, thick-based, pointed bills, a hallmark of the blackbird family they belong to.
 Color Pattern
Adult males are flame-orange and black, with a solid-black head and one white bar on their black wings. Females and immature males are yellow-orange on the breast, grayish on the head and back, with two bold white wing bars.
Baltimore Orioles are more often heard than seen as they feed high in trees, searching leaves and small branches for insects, flowers, and fruit. You may also spot them lower down, plucking fruit from vines and bushes or sipping from hummingbird feeders. Watch for the male’s slow, fluttering flights between tree tops and listen for their characteristic wink or chatter calls.
Look for Baltimore Orioles high in leafy deciduous trees, but not in deep forests: they’re found in open woodland, forest edge, orchards, and stands of trees along rivers, in parks, and in backyards.
 Baltimore Oriole
Adult male

Slender body shape with sharp, pointed billBright orange underparts with black headBlack and white wings with orange shoulders Black tail tipped with orangeCommon spring/summer resident in eastern and central U.S.
 Baltimore Oriole
Adult male

Bright orange with black headBold white markings on black wingsSharp silver/black bill

Baltimore Oriole
Immature male

Slender body shape and long tailSharp, pointed billBright orange underneathDusky gray head and back
 Similar Species
The distinctive shape and bright colors of orioles help set them apart from most other species. Orchard Orioles are noticeably smaller than Baltimore Orioles. Male Orchard Orioles are rich chestnut, never bright orange, and female Orchard never show any orange tones. Immature male Orchard Orioles have a solid black throat (unlike the partial hood of Baltimore) and yellowish-green underparts. Bullock’s Oriole occurs mostly west of the Baltimore Oriole's range, but the two species occasionally hybridize in the Great Plains. Male Bullock’s Orioles have orange faces, a black line through the eye, and a larger white patch in the wings. Females and immature males have much grayer underparts than Baltimore Orioles. Some people occasionally mistake American Robins for Baltimore Orioles, but robins are thrushes with shorter bills, rounder heads, solid-brown backs, and a more subdued shade of orange on the breast.
 Backyard Tips

Baltimore Orioles seek out ripe fruit. Cut oranges in half and hang them from trees to invite orioles into your yard. Special oriole feeders filled with sugar water supplement the flower nectar that Baltimore Orioles gather. You can even put out small amounts of jelly to attract these nectar-eaters (just don't put out so much that it risks soiling their feathers). Planting bright fruits and nectar-bearing flowers, such as raspberries, crab apples, and trumpet vines, can attract Baltimore Orioles year after year.
 Find This Bird

Aim your eyes high when looking for Baltimore Orioles. They’re most often seen perched at the tops of trees or flitting through the upper foliage in search of insects. Listen for their distinctive chatter, which is unlike the call of any other bird where orioles occur. Noisy nestlings may alert you to a nest site high off the ground.

Regional Differences
In central North America—including Kansas, Nebraska, Saskatchewan, and Alberta—the Baltimore Oriole’s range overlaps with its close relative the Bullock’s Oriole, and the two species breed with each other. Their hybrid offspring—brighter orange than a typical Bullock’s, but duller than a typical Baltimore—can confuse bird watchers.

Audubon's Oriole

 A predominantly Mexican bird, the Audubon's Oriole reaches the United States only in southern Texas. It is a rather secretive oriole, living in denser vegetation than most other orioles and singing from inconspicuous perches.
Typical Voice

Adult Description
Medium-sized songbird.
Yellowish body.
Black hood.
Black wings.
Long, black tail.
Straight, pointed bill.
 Immature Description
Juvenile lacks black. Olive on back, grayer on head and nape, yellower on rump. Underparts yellow with gray throat. Wings brownish gray. Tail olive with darker central feathers. First-year bird similar to adult, but with wings and tail dull brownish rather than black.
 Similar Species
The male Scott's Oriole is the only other oriole in the United States that is black and yellow, but it has a black back and a partly yellow tail, and its range does not overlap that of Audubon's Oriole. Immature Scott's has streaked back; Audubon's is plain olive.
 Cool Facts
The Audubon's Oriole is the only black-hooded New World oriole (with an entirely black head and breast but not back). Indeed, it was formerly known as the Black-headed Oriole, but this name was changed in 1983 to Audubon's Oriole to avoid confusion with an Old World group of species in the genus Oriolus, the true orioles.
The Audubon's Oriole is a favored host of the nest-parasitic Bronzed Cowbird. In Texas, more than half of all oriole nests have cowbird eggs in them.

Open Woodland
Uses a variety of habitats, including riparian forest, thorn forest, and live oak forest in Texas, and humid tropical forests in Mexico.
Nesting Facts

Clutch Size
3–5 eggs
Egg Description
Pale bluish white, with dark streaks and blotches, heaviest at large end.
Condition at Hatching
 Nest Description

Nest a slightly hanging basket of woven palmetto fibers or grasses, lined with soft grasses or hair. Placed in trees, often quite low to ground, among twigs and leaves on central portion of limbs.

Foliage Gleaner
Forages in dense foliage, often near forest clearing. Inserts bill into dead wood or plants and opens it forcefully to expose insects hiding inside. Uses bird feeders.
status via IUCN
Least Concern
Has declined in Texas. Not listed as at risk in any part of its range. Vulnerability to habitat loss and fragmentation (particularly cowbird parasitism) suggests that special measures may be needed to maintain some populations.

Flood, N. J., J. D. Rising, and T. Brush. 2002. Audubon's Oriole (Icterus graduacauda). In The Birds of North America, No. 691 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

Altamira Oriole

 The Altamira Oriole is a bird of Mexico and Central America whose range just reaches into southern Texas. The largest oriole occurring in the United States, it makes the longest nest of any North American bird: its woven basket-like nest can reach 65 cm (25.5 in) in length.

 Cool Facts
The Altamira Oriole has been observed foraging for dead grasshoppers on the fronts of cars.
The Altamira Oriole is a solitary nester, with an average of a quarter kilometer (800 ft) between nests. Despite this wide spacing, it is not known to be territorial, and almost no aggression has been observed during the breeding season.

Semi-arid areas with scattered trees, open riparian woodland, open areas within more humid environments.

Nesting Facts

Clutch Size
2–6 eggs
Egg Description
Pale bluish white with irregular black and purple spots and splotches.
Condition at Hatching

 Nest Description

A long (30-65 cm; 12-25.5 in), hanging pouch woven of fibers and thin roots of epiphytes, suspended in the fork of a branch in a tall tree or hung from telephone wires.

Pleasants, B. Y. 1993. Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis). In The Birds of North America, No. 56 (A. Poole and F. Gill, Eds.). Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences; Washington, D.C.: The American Ornithologists' Union.

Raptors in action

Black-eared Kite                       Milvus (migrans) lineatus

A Juvenile Bonelli's Eagle ( Aquila fasciata)

Eurasian Marsh Harrier ( Circus aeruginosus)
Oriental Honey Buzzard ( Pernis ptilorhynchus)
Juvenile Pallid Harrier ( Circus macrourus)
Short toed Snake Eagle ( Circaetus gallicus)

What will happen to my birds when I move?

I found your blog while I was searching for advice about mourning doves. I'm moving to a new place and I have several pairs of doves at my current home. How do I stop feeding them? I'm really worried about what will happen to them when I leave.

A lot of people like the mournful coo the Mourning Dove’s common name reflects. However despite their sad song and fragile look, the Mourning Dove is a swift, direct flier whose wings often whistle as they cut through the air at a high speed.

They are the most abundant and widespread native bird in North America helped by the human-induced changes to the landscape. And if the feeder is empty they’ll look for other sources. Studies show that the birds you see in your yard only eat about 20% of their meals at feeders.

Birds are survivors and won't starve when you move. They usually follow a circuit each day, visiting a number of feeding areas. If there is no food in your area, you will just be left off their foraging circuit.

Doves aren't picky eaters. There are lots of natural sources of food like nut or berry bushes and native weed and flowers seeds that stand through the winter. These provide food for a lot of birds.

You could also leave a bag a seed for the new owners of your home to continue feeding if you like. We have several new customers that begin feeding because the previous homeowner has left the bird feeding set up for them to feed their birds.

Related Articles:

- Why is the Dove a Symbol of Peace?
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The Singer : White rumped Shama

White-rumped Shama (Copsychus malabaricus)

Take a walk in any of the forests of the state, you will come across this songster bird, often identified by its never ending melodious tunes. Often seen behind the bushes, this bird is one of the first to wake you up in the morning. Found virtually in all the forest patches, this specie is a serious contender for the award of the "best singing bird of the state".
Male has a long graduated tail with whitish edges. Female has a comparatively shorter and square shaped tail. Both of them derive their name from the characteristic white rump. Male has a orange breast with bluish black upper parts. Female has a duller underparts with greyish upper-parts. Juvenile bird has orangish spots with a breast having scaly appearance.

Can be seen frequently cocking the tail.
                                             Male Bird

A Juvenile Bird

How to store bird seed

We feed the birds, black sunflower seeds, and I keep it in a metal garbage can outside near the feeder.  But it seems to collect moisture on the bottom then making it moldy, and I have tried a plastic pail inside the garbage can and eventually that gets moisture on the bottom. Is there a better contained to store the seed in? ~ Sioux City, IA

Sometimes it’s better to buy smaller quantities of bird seed more often than to attempt to store very large amounts. Birds know the difference between fresh seed and older, stale or moldy seed! Fresh seed has higher oil content and is much more nutritious for the birds. Birds are very efficient foragers and like to make every calorie count especially in the winter.

Under optimal conditions, in a cool, dry place, out of the sun, bird seed can be kept for up to three months. One excellent way to store bird seed is to leave it in the original bag and put it in the freezer. Suet and seed kept in the freezer can be kept up to 6 months.

If don’t have freezer space, Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing has galvanized steel containers with locking lids to keep out water and unwanted guests. If the container is kept outside in the winter it will keep out moisture from the air and also keep out the drying sunlight. I always leave the seed in their original bags so you are never dumping old seed on top of new.

These few steps when storing bird seed and suet will extend the shelf life of the food and also attract more birds!

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