Photo: Baltimore oriole nesting in wild

The distinctly colored Baltimore oriole builds a hanging nest for its four or so eggs.

Photograph by George Grall

Map

Map: Baltimore oriole range

Baltimore Oriole Range

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Fast Facts

Type:
Bird
Diet:
Omnivore
Size:
7 to 8.25 in (18 to 21 cm)
Weight:
1.2 oz (35 g)
Did you know?
Young male orioles do not achieve their adult plumage until autumn of their second year.
Size relative to a tea cup:
Illustration: Baltimore oriole compared with tea cup

The Baltimore oriole is Maryland's official state bird. This popular animal has also been the namesake of the state's professional baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles, since the late 19th century. Male orioles have brilliant orange-golden underparts and shoulder patches, with black wings and a black head. Females are not as brightly colored. Though they are partially orange, they also have and brownish-olive plumage.

Baltimore orioles inhabit Maryland and the rest of the eastern United States only in the summer months. (They are also found, less commonly, in the central U.S. and Canada). In winter, some of these migrating birds live in the southeastern U.S., but most fly further afield in search of neotropical climates.

These attractive birds frequent woodlands and eat common creatures including caterpillars and insects supplemented by fruits and berries. The Baltimore oriole's appetite for caterpillars may help protect forests from some destructive pests. In the backyard, they can be enticed to visit feeders with oranges, nectars, or peanut butter.

Each spring a female oriole constructs a hanging nest at the end of a tree branch. From this perch, she will guard her eggs (typically four) for about two weeks. When the young birds hatch, both parents will feed and watch over them for an additional two weeks.

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