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.
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Sunday, July 17, 2011

When do orioles leave Michigan?

I haven’t seen my orioles since the end of June. Where did they go? Isn’t it too early to migrate south? Should I take my oriole feeder down? 
Dream Weavers
oriole female nestDSC_0157Baltimore Orioles arrive at their mid-Michigan breeding grounds near the end of April. Soon after the female alone begins to build a nest. This consists of weaving and tying thousands of stitches and knots with her beak into a woven hanging-basket.
It can take as many as 15 days for her to weave a nest and the result is an engineering masterpiece of plant fiber, grasses, vine and tree bark. Orioles build the nest on small branches 6 to 45 feet in the air, to keep them safe from predators. Female orioles are also in charge when it's time to incubate the eggs and brood the young in the nest. Then both parents feed the young which fledge about 30 days from egg laying.

Orioles make only one nesting attempt per year. So depending on the success of the birds in finding mates and a nesting site, they may be done raising a new family anytime from mid-June to mid-August. That means they’re free to move around after that. Some may start down south and some adult orioles are just secretive at the end of July when they begin their fall molt and may not visit feeders.

Usually, there are a few early individuals that start migration. These are followed south by a much larger volume of migrants. Finally the peak tapers off gradually to a few lingering stragglers. Most of the bird books will tell you that they leave Michigan by mid-September but there is no set schedule and I'd leave your feeder up a little while longer, just in case.

Related articles: 
1. Migration of Birds: When Birds Migrate http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/birds/migratio/when.htm


Anonymous said...


chrisdor0ab1 said...

I saw them all over Baldwin Michigan, lake county the first 2 weeks in July. While picking blueberries One was following me through the woods. I whistled her tune, she gave a wierd response and then I decided something might be wrong and stopped. Then I heard a rustle in the undergrowth to see her baby in there. So I left that area for her to take care of it. I felt Blessed to even see it all, mom, pop, and baby in the berry patch.

Anonymous said...

I have noticed orioles here in Northern Michigan in late August. Thought it was a bit unusual. They've been eating off the suet cakes.

Anonymous said...

I am in mid-Michigan and I think my Orioles have left. I haven't seen any in 2 days.

Anonymous said...

I live west of Ann Arbor, this is the first year I learned to
Set out my feeders early for both orioles and hummingbirds.
It really paid off!
A few female orioles appeared then one day
there was a huge gorgeous male!
It was crazy, how fast they were going through the
oranges and grape jelly, however they had no interest
in the liquid feeder. My hummingbirds sure did as well
as jelly!!
Before long I was seeing a couple of smaller size
females & males with a lighter color to them.
Everyday I growth in them and at times the males
would chase each other away from the feeders.
I added another feeder further away but they still chased.
Maybe they were playing?!
It's now September 12th and it's been two
days since I've seen one. Only hummingbirds and bees
have been enjoying those feeders.
I sure hope the orioles will return next spring for the season.