Maryland State Bird



The Maryland state bird: Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula

Maryland State Bird Description:

  • Size: 7 to 7.5 inches (17-19 cm)
  • Wingspan: 9 to 12 inches (23-30 cm)
  • Weight: 1.06 to 1.41 ounces (30-40 g)

The Baltimore Oriole is a favorite among birders. The adult male has brilliant orange and black plumage. The hood, back, wings and tail are black. The underparts and rump are orange. The tail also shows orange on the tip and edges. The wings are black with orange shoulders and white wing bar.

The female's head is more dark olive brown than black and the orange colors are paler than the male's. The female has two white wing bars without orange shoulders. She is also smaller than the male.

Habitat:

The Baltimore Oriole has a preference for open areas with tall trees. This has made it a common inhabitant of parks and golf courses.

Range:

The Baltimore Oriole spends summers mainly in the eastern United States, from Wisconsin to Maine, southwards to central Mississippi and Alabama, northern Georgia, and western South and North Carolina.

It winters in Florida, Caribbean, Central Mexico, and Central America to northern South America. Some populations are in southern California.

Diet:

Most Orioles spend their winters in Florida, the Caribbean, central Mexico, Central America and the northern part of South America. While there, they enjoy a steady diet of fruit, caterpillars, insects, spiders and nectar.

When they arrive in the US, they are looking for their favorite foods. While it may be difficult to attract them with caterpillars and insects, you can certainly attract Orioles with nectar, nuts, suet, and fruits such as oranges, cherries, apples, pears or bananas and even grape jelly.

Nesting:

The Baltimore Oriole's nest is gourd-shaped and woven from hair, plant fibers, and synthetic fibers. The nest is made in such a manner that the air can easily pass through it. It is usually located about 25 to 30 feet above the ground, in deciduous trees and hidden among leaves. It is very beautiful and usually seen only after leaves have fallen. It is built mainly by female.

The clutch will contain 4 to 6 eggs with an incubation period of 12 to 14 days. Orioles only produce one brood per season.

A Few Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Maryland State Bird:

The State bird of Maryland has been the Baltimore Oriole by a tradition stemming from the 17th century, when the early colonists, and possibly Lord Baltimore himself, noted that it bore the family colors of the founder of the colony.

  • Young male Baltimore Orioles do not achieve adult plumage until the fall of their second year. But some first-year males with female-like plumage succeed in attracting a mate and nest successfully.
  • The Baltimore Oriole can be an asset to your garden. It eats garden pests, such as caterpillars, eating both larval and pupal forms. It smashes the large larvae against a branch to break it open and avoid the hair-like structures. It pulls pupae out of their cocoon.
  • The Maryland state bird searches for food in trees, by gleaning and probing for insects. They run among branches, clinging by their feet to reach insects. Sometimes, they glide along the twigs, and at other times, they will move sideways.

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