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Bird of the Week: Baltimore Oriole

The liquid, flutelike song of the Baltimore Oriole is a common sign of spring across the Eastern U.S. The small songbird is best spotted by looking up; the males’ vibrant orange underside stand out in stark contrast to the tops of trees, as well as to their black backs and heads. Females more uniformly colored, a muted yellow interrupted only by their brown backs and wings. Both males and females have white or grey striping on their wing, often one stripe across the wing near the joint and several narrower stripes that run down the wing. This bird is typically seen foraging for insects, like beetles, caterpillars, and ants, under the bark of tree trunks in open forests or small stands of trees. They are also attracted to dark, vibrant fruits, especially red cherries and mulberries. They will sometimes plunge their long, sharp bills into a fruit, then open their mouth so their tongue may lick the exposed inside of the fruit. During the spring, Baltimore Orioles weave fibrous, basket-like nests that hang from the branches of elms, maples, and cottonwoods. They are frequent visitors to parks, orchards, and yards. Keep your eyes and ears out for this quick-moving bird the next time you visit your Metroparks!

Listen to the Baltimore Oriole’s call here:

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