Take 5: Orange-loving Orioles

It may surprise you to learn that Baltimore Orioles are not named for the coastal city in Maryland that shares their namesake. The bold patterning of black and yellow-orange sported by male Baltimore Orioles reminded early observers of the black and gold heraldry of Lord Baltimore, hence their common name.

While females and young birds tend to be quite a bit drabber about the head and may show pale orange, yellow, or even simply tan below, male orioles have black heads, backs, and wings with the striking bright orange below that makes them so iconic.

Baltimore Orioles love fruit, and although they favor young woods or orchards at the forest’s edge, they can sometimes be enticed to visit backyard feeders by fresh fruit or berries, especially in May when they begin to return to the Northeast from their winter homes. In fact, special oriole feeders are often designed to hold halved oranges or dishes of fruit jelly.

Here are five photos of beautiful Baltimore Orioles from our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. If you spot an oriole, be sure to report the sighting!

Baltimore Oriole © Eric Hayward

Baltimore Oriole © Eric Hayward

Baltimore Oriole © Bill Sooter

Baltimore Oriole © Bill Sooter

Baltimore Oriole © Anne Greene

Baltimore Oriole © Anne Greene

Baltimore Oriole © David Clapp

Baltimore Oriole © David Clapp

Baltimore Oriole © Julie Gagliardo

Baltimore Oriole © Julie Gagliardo

3 thoughts on “Take 5: Orange-loving Orioles

  1. Peter Timmins

    I’ve orioles!, 3 females and a male have been busy chowing down on oranges. They’ve been here for several days.

    Reply
  2. Anne Jones

    Great oriole photos
    Black throated blue warbler visited our feeder on May 1st. Took a small snack to keep him going. Really blue.

    Reply

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