Baltimore Oriole: Up close and personal

by John Briggs on May 14, 2010

in Bird Photographs, Blog, Wildlife

The Baltimore Oriole earned its name by resembling the color scheme on the coat of arms of Lord Baltimore, a Baron from Ireland after which the Maryland city is named. Baltimore Orioles are a sight to behold. Their color and song make them a favorite of any birder. These birds tend to be tree top dwellers and are an omnivorous species preferring insects, fruits and nectar. By offering the right foods you stand a great chance of luring them to your feeding station.

You can attract the Baltimore Oriole to your feeding station by offering a nectar mixture which will keep these beautiful birds returning to your yard for much of the summer. The types and varieties of Baltimore Oriole feeders are many. Purchasing nectar for Baltimore Orioles is not necessary and contains dyes. Providing a home made, nutritious nectar mixture is the way to go. Here is a tried and true nectar recipe for Baltimore Orioles.

  1. Mix 1 part sugar with 6 parts water. (6 cups water to 1 cup sugar)
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Be sure to keep an eye on it!
  3. Be sure to cool nectar mix to room temperature before filling your feeder. Left-over nectar may be stored in your refrigerator for a week or two.

Please do not add any type of food coloring, honey (which ferments) or artificial sweetener to your Oriole nectar recipe. The appearance of your feeder and the taste of the sugar nectar solution will do the work to attract Baltimore Orioles. Orange dye is unnecessary in attracting Orioles. Natural flower nectar is clear, not orange. Orange dye contributes absolutely nothing to the good health of an Oriole. Same thing goes for Hummingbird nectar, no red dye!

Keep in mind that you will need to clean your feeders and replace the nectar every 4 or 5 days in cool weather, and every 2 to 3 days during hot weather. Wash your feeders regularly with hot water and a 10% bleach solution. Be sure to rinse thoroughly and allow to dry before refilling.

Along with the nectar, we offer grape jelly, orange marmalade and orange halves for the Orioles that visit our feeding stations. We also offer a suet mixed with bits of fruit, berries and peanut butter. The combination of these foods ensure that the Baltimore Oriole is a regular visitor in our backyard all summer long. We even get an occasional Orchard Oriole, mostly during the spring and fall migration.

The following is an audio clip of a Baltimore Oriole’s song. Click the play button.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The following photos of male Baltimore Orioles were taken several days ago when they first showed up in our yard. No photos of the females yet, but I am sure I will get a few soon enough. And along with that will come the fledglings!

Click a thumbnail to view photo full sized. Once a photo is open in the shadowbox, navigation arrows are at the bottom to go to the next photo. All photos taken with a Canon 7D camera and Canon 100-400mm f/4 L IS lens.

Happy birding!



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