Baltimore Oriole: Dr J Murray Speirs

I always look forward to the arrival of the orioles when the fruit trees are in blossom in early May: their bright colours and lively songs add to this glad season. In summer they weave their pendant nests in the outermost twigs of drooping branches of such trees as elms and weeping willows: the male often sings nearby as the female incubates in her twine bag of a nest.

Baltimore Oriole nest

When the young leave the nest, their incessant food calls help the parent find them, well hidden in dense foliage , high in the canopy. They migrate early and few are to be found in Ontario after early September. They winter mainly in Central America and northern South America.

Baltimore Oriole High Park (photo: Judy-Ann Cazemier)

Baltimore Oriole

Males are bright orange, with black head and upper back and black central tail feathers: the black wings have white flashes.

Baltimore oriole (female)

Females are dull versions of the male, with the black reduced to spots or streaks. The song is a rich, whistled “too-hee-tew-tew-tew” (varying somewhat from bird to bird): they will often come to a whistled version of the final drooping “tew-tew-tew”. They often utter a scolding, lip-smacking sputter.

Baltimore Orioles (male)

Baltimore Oriole

 

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