Maryland State Bird
Baltimore Oriole (common name)
Icterus galbula (scientific name)
Maryland’s adoption of the Baltimore oriole as its state bird in 1947 seems an obvious choice, since the city of Baltimore is the Maryland capital. The bird actually got its name from the male's orange and black colors, similar to the yellow and black on the coat of arms of George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, who was given the original British land grant to colonize the territory. The male bird is striking, with black head and back contrasting with bright orange underparts. His wings are black with white wing bars. Females are similarly patterned, but a brownish-olive green color where the male is black and a yellowish-orange where the male is orange. Baltimore orioles forage in tall trees for their meals. They primarily eat insects and spiders and are especially fond of caterpillars. In fact, they are one of the few birds that will eat caterpillars with defensive spikes on them. Occasionally they will also eat fruit and nectar. Males sing almost nonstop until they mate with a female; singing late in the breeding season is solely from unmated or juvenile birds. Once orioles have found a mate, they defend their territory and start nesting. Nests are woven from plant fibers and typically placed in a fork in the branches of a tall tree.
ALSO KNOWN AS
Northern oriole, black-backed oriole
Baltimore orioles can be fiercely territorial, using their sharp beaks as weapons and engaging their enemies even in midair.
Breeding grounds are open areas with scattered deciduous trees including parks, wooded urban areas, and forest edges. Wintering areas are humid tropical forests.
Range: Breeds from Saskatchewan in the west to Nova Scotia in the east and throughout the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains. In winter the bird migrates to its southern wintering range from Louisiana to Florida in the north and Central America to Venezuela in the south.
Migration: Departs to northern breeding grounds as early as the first week in February and arrives in Maryland the first week of May.
Conservation Status: Least concern (LC). Maryland first passed a law to protect the Baltimore Oriole in 1882. It is also protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and the Maryland Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1975. The number of Baltimore Orioles started to dip in 1966 because of pesticides ingested by prey insects. A second decline in population after 1980 was due to the destruction of it’s the bird’s breeding areas and its tropical winter habitat. Populations have slightly decreased across their range, but are now stable.
Nesting Period: Early August–September
Size of Clutch: 3–7 eggs
Incubation Period: 11-14 days.
Egg Description: Grayish-white with dark lines
Egg Size: 1 in x 0.6 in (25 x 15 mm)
Orchard oriole, Bullock’s oriole, common blackbird, meadowlark
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|Author: World Trade Press|