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Orchard Oriole - Vibrant and Elusive Visitor

Article and photos by Charly Mann

Orchard Orioles are one of the most distinctive and elusive birds in Oklahoma. Even though they often live close to open fields, they spend most of their time in nearby trees or near the ground strategically hidden in tall grass. I often catch glimpses of these birds, but they usually quickly disappear into a tree or dense vegetation before I can get close enough to take a photograph.

Orchard Oriole close-up
Orchard Oriole in late May 2009 outside of Bartlesville

Male Orchard Orioles have bluish a black head, back wings, and back. Most of the rest of their body is a vibrant chestnut brown. Their feathers are edged with white, and they have a thin white wing bar. Female Orchard Orioles look very different from males. They are olive-green on top, and greenish yellow below. They have light brownish wings with two white wing bars. Females are often hard to distinguish from several other species of similar looking birds including warblers.

Female Orchard Oriole
Female Orchard Oriole from July 1010. Sitting next to her on this fence were three of her newborn.

Orchard Orioles are the smallest oriole in North America measuring only 6 inches in length.

Orchard Oriole profile
Orchard Oriole sitting in a small grove of trees by a cow pasture 

Orchard Orioles primarily eat grasshoppers crickets, beetles, and spiders, but also enjoy seeds and flower nectar.

Orchard Oriole up close
Male Orchard Oriole looking for insects

Orchard Orioles are only temporary visitors to North America. They live most of the year, from August through April in Central America and northwestern South America. They migrate at night, and part of their journey requires them to cross over the Gulf of Mexico.


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Comments:

Safwan      7:42 AM Wed 7/24/2013

Thank you for commenting. Last year, we had Baltimore Orioles stay for a culope weeks, then they disappeared. As we learned about them, we found out they like to use horse hair as a nesting material. About a mile from us are neighbors with horses, so I wondered if that is why they left. As an experiment, I saved my hair and was thrilled it caused the Orioles to stay here. We did have some spats with the birds because they didn't want to share the oranges. They got over it. I searched to see what the Mexican Hair grass looked like and that is pretty.
 

Mandy      4:22 PM Thu 8/16/2012

I love Orioles! Great pics!
 

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Uplifting Visions
a guide to happiness, good health, and success
Charly Mann in a Hawaiian shirt
by Charly Mann

From the age of seven I have been enchanted with the idea of living happily ever after, and have made it a life quest to find that answer. I have spoken to hundreds of people – usually older and wiser than me, and read countless books and articles on the subject. In my website Uplifting Visions I share what I consider the best insights I have learned about achieving happiness in life.



Oklahoma Birds Listed by Color

Red
House Finch - male (carpodacus mexicanus)
Purple Finch - male (carpodacus purpureus)
Northern Cardinal - male (cardinalis cardinalis)
Painted Bunting - male (passerina ciris)
Summer Tanager - male (piranga rubra)

Orange
Baltimore Oriole - male (icterus galbula)
Orchard Oriole - male (icterus spurius)

Yellow
Yellow Warbler (dendroica petechia )
Baltimore Oriole - female (icterus galbula)
Orchard Oriole - female (icterus spurius)
Summer Tanager - female (piranga rubra)
Yellow Goldfinch - male (carduelis tristis)
Western Kingbird (tyrannus verticalis)
Eastern Meadowlark (sturnella magna)

Green
Malard - male (anas platyrhynchos)
Dark-eyed Junco - female (junco hyemalis)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (archilochus colubris)
Painted Bunting - female (passerina ciris)
Green Heron (butorides virescens)

Blue
Barn Swallow (hirundo rustica)
Belted Kingfisher (ceryle alcyon)
Blue Jay (cyanocitta cristata)
Blue Grosbeak - male (guiraca caerulea)
Eastern Bluebird (sailia sialis)
Indigo Bunting - male (passerina cyanea)
Purple Martin - male (progne subis)

Grey
Great Blue Heron (ardea herodias)
Carolina Chickadee (poecile carolinensis)
Eastern Screech-Owl (otus asio)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (sitta canadensis)
Grey Catbird (dumetella carolinensis)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (regulus calendula)
Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher (tyrannus forficatus)
White-breasted Nuthatch (sitta carolinensis)
Tufted Titmouse (baelophus bicolor)
American Robin (turdus migratorius)
Northern Mockingbird (mimus polyglottos)
Mississippi Kite (ictinia mississippiensis)
Dickcissel (spiza americana)

Black
American Crow (corvus brachyrhynchos)
Brown-headed Cowbird - male (molothrus ater)
European Starling (sturnus vulgaris)
Common Grackle (quiscalus quiscula)
Red-winged Blackbird - male (agelaius phoeniceus)
Spotted Towhee (pipilo maculatus)
Turkey Vulture (cathartes aura)

Black & White
American Bald Eagle (haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Black-billed Magpie (pica hudsonia)
Downey Woodpecker (picoides pubescens)
Red-Bellied Woodpecker (melanerpes carolinus)
Purple Martin - female (progne subis)
Eastern Kingbird (tyrannus tyrannus)
Dark-eyed Junco - male (junco hyemalis)
Loggerhead Shrike (lanius ludovicianus)

Brown
American Kestrel (falco sparverius)
Blue Grosbeak - female (guiraca caerulea)
Brown-headed Cowbird - female (molothrus ater)
Brown Thrasher (toxostoma rufum)
Common Nighthawk (chordeiles minor)
Carolina Wren (thryothorus ludovicianus)
Cedar Waxwing (bombycilla cedrorum)
Greater Roadrunner (geococcyx californianus)
Killdeer (charadrius vociferus)
Northern Bobwhite (colinus virginianus)
Red-tailed Hawk (buteo jamaicensis)
Cliff Swallow (petrochelidon pyrrhonota)
Horned Lark (eremophila alpestris)
House Finch - female (carpodacus mexicanus)
Northern Flicker (colaptes auratus)
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (coccyzus americanus)
Mourning Dove (zenaida macroura)
Malard - female (anas platyrhynchos)
Purple Finch - female (carpodacus purpureus)
House Sparrow (passer domesticus)
Indigo Bunting - female (passerina cyanea)
Red-winged Blackbird - female (agelaius phoeniceus)
Spotted Sandpiper (actitis macularia)
Upland Sandpiper (bartramia longicauda)
Northern Cardinal - female (cardinalis cardinalis)
Eastern Screech-Owl (otus asio)
Yellow Goldfinch - female (carduelis tristis)
Canada Goose (branta canadensis)

Various
Wild Birds of Northeast OK


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