Shyamala Rao - Artist
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Welcome to my blog. This will be an ongoing blog in which I will discuss things I am working on, as well as my thoughts on wildlife conservation. Please come back to this page regularly, as I will update it from time to time.

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July 5, 2013

Miracles of Migration Series VII : The Baltimore Oriole

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:12 am

Miracles of Migration Series VII :

The Baltimore Oriole by Shyamala Rao

The Baltimore Oriole is a splendid black and orange bird and the first sighting is a moment when all time stops and the world simply fades away. My own very first look at this stunning beauty of a bird was right at my front door where I had a Hummingbird feeder set out. The bird landed close by and worked at figuring how to get at some of the delicious sweet nectar. I was fortunate to have my camera close at hand and got some quick shots of this beauty that was gracing my home. I look at the pictures frequently and I have to admit the gorgeous bird definitely makes me marvel at the miracle of evolution. what impetus led to such stunning good looks.


Even though the name implies an Oriole ornithologists state that these birds belong in the family of Blackbirds, the family is Icterids and the Latin name for the Baltimore Oriole is Icterus Galbula. These birds are found all over the North Eastern United States during the breeding season. Their breeding grounds extend from Wisconsin to Maine in the north and all the way to Alabama and Mississippi in the South. The birds are between 7 to 9 inches in length when fully grown. Baltimore Orioles weigh about one and a half ounces when adult. The male is somewhat larger than the female. The male has bright orange under parts, shoulders and rump, while the rest of the male’s body is a gleaming black. The female is brownish yellow in the back and yellowish orange in the belly.


Baltimore Orioles reach their breeding grounds in North Eastern United States around May of each year and the males first set about establishing territories. Their diet consists of insects and berries and fruit. They are especially fond of consuming the Caterpillar Moth. Baltimore Orioles adults and chicks seek nectar from backyard feeders.

The male Baltimore Orioles court available females by vigorous singing and bowing displays. Once the female succumbs to the charms of the male a mating relationship is set up. The female builds the nest by herself and it is quite characteristic, a long woven pouch. The female lays 3 to 6 eggs and incubates the eggs for 2 weeks. The chicks hatch and they are fed by both parents for a 2 to 4 week period. The chicks then fledge and begin foraging for food. The rest of the summer is spent in feeding, growing fast and building the necessary stamina and fat reserves for the Fall Migration.

And the cycle of migration resumes in the fall and these gorgeous birds are off to wintering grounds and will be back in the spring.


This female Baltimore Oriole came to my backyard and enjoyed the Orange halves I had put out for her and her partner. The females are very shy and harder to see out in the open whereas the males, particularly when hungry, come out in the open, much more incautiously. During migration many of the Baltimore Orioles get injured or consumed by predators. The process of annual migration is hard, covers long distances and is fraught with danger for these gorgeous songbirds.


In September and October the Baltimore Orioles begin the process of migration to the South and they head for their winter habitats in Central and South America. The distances covered are very extensive, for example from Baltimore, Maryland to Caracas, Venezuela is 2804 miles each way. The journey takes them several weeks and the birds stop en route to rest, feed and build up fat reserves before setting off on the next lap. In the course of their migration Baltimore Orioles often pass through Texas and may be seen at Hummingbird Feeders in backyards. This is how I was fortunate enough to get a look at the Beautiful Baltimore Orioles in my own yard in the Hill Country region.


  1. Absolutely fabulous. What a joy to see such beauty in your own yard.

    Comment by Padmini — July 8, 2013 @ 12:43 pm

  2. You have really done this beauty justice! Brilliant shots and such informative details of it’s life style!

    Comment by Jim Baines — October 6, 2013 @ 7:53 pm

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