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The Amazing Baltimore Oriole

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

How it got its name

The Baltimore Oriole earned its name by resembling the color scheme on the coat of arms of Lord Baltimore, a Baron from Ireland. The male has a black head, throat and back with bright orange underparts and white bars on its wings. The female is much more drab by comparison.

Where it lives

This striking bird inhabits the eastern part of North America, migrating to the northeast through the spring and summer. Baltimore Orioles winter in Florida and southward to the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and northern South America and lingering east of the Rocky Mountains.


Baltimore Orioles feed in shrubs, bushes, and trees, hunting for insects or picking through flowers. They eat a wide variety of fruit, including berries, but are especially attracted to oranges. Nectar, spiders, caterpillars, and other insects are also part of their diet. If you’re looking to attract them to your backyard, they prefer feeding stations away from the busiest areas, preferably in a shaded area near secure shelter.


Baltimore Orioles are monogamous birds that pair together after an elaborate courtship ritual that includes tail and wing spread displays. I was lucky enough to see one of their nests a couple of years ago at the Hamilton House in South Berwick, Maine. The female will create a dangling pouch woven from thin plant fibers, fur, yarn, string, and hair, then line it with grass or wool. These nests are often positioned 25-35 feet above the ground, though some can be found much higher. Almost all Baltimore oriole nests are found in deciduous trees.

Read more about this fascinating bird via the Spruce.

Like this artwork? Baltimore Oriole prints and note cards are available in my online shop.

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