The Brilliant Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)

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The Baltimore Orioles are back and busy nesting already.The male’s song floats over trees and shrubberies filling the spring sky with a glorious clear tone unlike any other songbirds trills or tweets. Both the male and female sing and when they are annoyed they kvetch with a rattling, scratchy cry.

First Spring 2012 Sighting of Male

Male Baltimore Oriole high up in a Honey Locust tree on May 7, 2012.

Male Baltimore Oriole Singing in Apple Tree 2011

Singing Male Baltimore Oriole 2011

Baltimore Oriole Male Giving Me the Eyes 2011

Female Baltimore Oriole 2012

The female Baltimore Oriole is a frequent visitor to the Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers ‘wells’ in a Hawthorn tree. The sweet sap must offer an energy boost for all the efforts she makes weaving her intricate nest while mostly upside down.

Female Baltimore Oriole Flying from Nest in Native Black Cherry 2012

Lucky for me . . . the Baltimore Orioles continue to choose our native Black Cherry tree in the north field just in view from where I am typing. She has quite a bit more material to weave into her nest seen in the upper left of the photograph above.

Female Baltimore Oriole Gathering Nesting Material 2010

A couple of years ago, I chanced to see the female Baltimore Oriole stripping dry plant stems for nesting material.

Female Baltimore Holding Nesting Material 2011

This female Baltimore Oriole was very striking and with very little black-brown on her head. Perhaps she is a very young adult. Over time the females can become as bright orange as the males.

Female Baltimore Oriole Building Nest in Black Cherry Tree

I think the Baltimore Oriole couple very clever to choose a site with fruit just within reach. They have been choosing a wispy branch on the north side of the Black Cherry tree for years now.

Fighting Male Baltimore Orioles 2009

I caught a glimpse of a jousting match between two male Baltimore Orioles the other day but did not capture their fight in flight as I did in the above photograph taken in 2009. The males will defend their territory and are often checking in on the progress of their mates weaving. When the young are born, they are devoted fathers.

http://flowerhillfarm.blogspot.com/

Carol Duke

Carol Duke

Carol Duke is an artist and farmer who has worked with the land on a Western Massachusetts hillside for over thirty years. During this time her land has evolved into a diverse wildlife habitat. Carol features the flora and fauna that live and visit her farm on her blog http://flowerhillfarm.blogspot.com/ As vital wildlife habitats are destroyed daily, Carol hopes to inspire others to garden for wildlife, while becoming activists for wild places the world over. Her nature photography has appeared in magazines, books and newspapers.

Carol Duke

Carol Duke

Carol Duke is an artist and farmer who has worked with the land on a Western Massachusetts hillside for over thirty years. During this time her land has evolved into a diverse wildlife habitat. Carol features the flora and fauna that live and visit her farm on her website and blog http://caroldukeflowers.com As vital wildlife habitats are destroyed daily, Carol hopes to inspire others to garden for wildlife, while becoming activists for wild places the world over. Her nature photography has appeared in magazines, books and newspapers.

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Jean MacDonald
Jean MacDonald

what great photos Carol!

Carol Duke
Carol Duke

Thank you Jean! 

Carol Duke
Carol Duke

They are quite a colorful addition to the habitat here Ken. Baltimore Orioles are actually in the blackbird family.

Glenn Bartley

Carol, what a brilliantly colored species – wish we had this one in Europe!