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Baltimore Oriole

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Baltimore orioles photographed at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio

About the Baltimore Oriole

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.

Population Range

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.

Diet

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.

Nesting

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.