Baltimore Orioles are found in a variety of habitats
but prefer areas that contain deciduous trees near the water. In the
summer during breeding season they are found from southern Canada in
a bowl shaped range that extends down to Mississippi. During the
winter they can be found in Florida, Cuba, southern Mexico and much
of central America.
The Baltimore Oriole has quite a diverse diet that
includes insects, fruit and nectar from flowers. Nectar is mostly
consumed during the non-breeding season when many Orioles are found in
Mexico. Because they drink nectar orioles are thought to be
important pollinators in these areas. While Orioles will
occasionally take nectar from plants and nectar feeders during the
summer, the majority of their diet is made of insects, mainly
Photo: M. Noonan
Pair bonding is started right as the females nears
breeding territories. Here they are courted by the males already
holding territories. When courting a female a male will bow and sing
a song to persuade her to stay with him. After pair bonding both the
male and female will aggress intruders; males attacking other males
and females attacking other females.
Females alone will make a nest in late April or May
around the time there are abundant insect populations. It will take
the female about a week to make the hanging nest which she will
build in three steps. First, she will build the overall base of the
nest with strong, flexible materials. Next, she adds springy
material to make sure the nest holds a bowl shape and doesn't sag.
Last the female lines the interior of the nest with soft, downy
fibers. After making the nest the female will lay 3-7 eggs and after
around two weeks the chicks will hatch. The chicks at the moment of
hatching are altricial so they cannot feed themselves or regulate
their body temperature so they depend completely on their parents.
Photo: Sara Morris