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Outdoors Journal: Orioles are back

  • Article by: JIM GILBERT
  • May 3, 2012 - 11:41 PM

ORIOLES ARE BACK

A fantastic songster, the Baltimore oriole is most often heard before it is seen. The presence of this 7-inch bird's cheerful series of whistles and chattering is a sure sign the month of May is here. They are easily attracted to feeders offering grape jelly, orange halves or sugar water. Mix the jelly half-and-half with water using an eggbeater, then pour it into glass jars set out in feeders.

Baltimore orioles, which winter in Central America, are insect eaters but also feed on wild fruits and sometimes probe flowers for nectar. The flame-orange and black, with a solid black head, of the male makes it very conspicuous as it searches for food. These colors must have caught the attention of early European settlers in Maryland because the bird was named in honor of George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, an early colonizer there, who had chosen orange and black as his family colors. Females are pale orange-yellow and brown.

JIM GILBERT

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