Orchard Oriole

Hey guys, welcome back! Today is our second oriole species. The orchard oriole is the smallest of the North American orioles (which incidentally aren’t related to the orioles of Eurasia.) The male looks nearly identical to the Baltimore oriole, except its bright orange is swapped out with a dark rusty color similar to the breast of the American robin. Females are a greenish-yellow. Juvenile males are also a greenish-yellow, but show a black throat.

Orchard Oriole Juvenile2
Juvenile male orchard oriole. Gateway Arch National Park, St. Louis, MO

Orchard orioles, like other oriole species, eat nectar from flowers and will visit oriole feeders. They also help pollinate some species of tropical plants while on their wintering grounds. They spend more time in their wintering grounds than a lot of other migrants. The orchard oriole has a short breeding season, and are usually well on their way back to Central and South America by mid July.

Orchard Oriole7
Adult male orchard oriole. Chagrin River Park, Willoughby, OH

Orchard orioles also get along with other bird species, and are so laid back they’ll nest in close proximity to species like robins, kingbirds, and other orioles. Being non-aggressive, the more aggressive birds usually don’t mind them, while also protecting the area from brood parasites like the brown-headed cowbird. I guess you can call them good neighbors. The first one I saw was a juvenile male taking a bath in the waterfall area that fills the Pool in Central Park. I knew it was an oriole, but I had forgotten that orchards were so yellow when young. I had to ask another birder for help with the ID. Kinda felt stupid afterward since there’s really only two oriole species on the east coast and I knew it wasn’t a Baltimore lol. I’ve since seen a number of them and this past spring was able to get some good pics of an adult in a crabapple tree. Next up, the brightly colored summer tanager! See you then!

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