About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fun Facts about Orioles

  • People living in traditional residential neighborhoods are not as likely to have orioles nest in their yard, but may see them pass through on migration, so put out a feeder to try to catch a glimpse.
  • When not feeding on nectar, orioles seek out caterpillars, fruits, insects, and spiders. Unlike many insect eating birds, Baltimore Orioles will eat spiny or hairy caterpillars, including such pest species as fall webworms, tent caterpillars, and gypsy moths.
  • Orioles appear to be sensitive to the spraying of pesticides, with birds succumbing directly from the poison and from the loss of their insect food sources.
  • It takes as many as 12 days for an Oriole to weave its nest. One Baltimore Oriole was observed spending 40 hours building a nest with about 10,000 stitches and the tying of thousands of knots, all with its beak.
  • While modern day Oriole nests are made primarily of plant fibers, Oriole nests collected in the late 1800s, before the age of the automobile, were made almost exclusively of horsehair.
  • Most Baltimore Orioles spend their winters in southern Mexico, Central America and the tropics, but some will stay in the southern states of the U.S., with a few reports as far north as New England.
  • Baltimore Orioles migrate at night and are known to be victims of collisions with buildings and communication towers.
  • The oldest banded Baltimore Oriole recaptured in the wild had lived 11 years and 7 months.
  • A group of orioles are collectively known as a "pitch" and a "split" of orioles.

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