Sunday, December 21, 2008

Baltimore Oriole goes Brrrr!

Today, I saw the startling orange and black blaze of Lord Baltimore's colors in the form of this gorgeous Neotropical blackbird. The date is December 21, the temperature was hovering around 25, and Arctic blasts of frigid air made conditions seem far colder than that.

And there was the gorgeous adult male Baltimore Oriole, busily cramming bits of frozen pineapple, suet, and other assorted fare into its gaping maw at the feeders of Becky Schmitt, in Worthington, Ohio. A far cry from where most of this oriole's brethren are right now.

Not a typical sight for late December in Ohio, but by no means unprecedented. This is at least the 30th winter record for Baltimore Oriole. Yep, these are the tough guys. They don't need no pina coladas by the pool in sunny tropical Costa Rica, whiling away the winter in chaise lounges. And I still hope this oriole feels that way after tonight, when low temperatures will dip to 7 degrees.

Becky provides an ambitious culinary palette for orioles of discerning tastes. Here, our guy samples the Chunked Pineapple in Cage. He like. After that, the second course was Suet with Mixed Seed Imbedded, and for dessert it was on to Sunflowers Lightly Crisped and Dry. Let's hope this diet supercharges the oriole for some extremely frosty nights ahead.

A real showstopper by any standard. Incredibly, Becky had a first-year male visiting these same feeders last winter, and I would think that this is the same bird all grown up. If so, a real glutton for punishment, this one.

Adult male Baltimore Oriole, on the grounds of the Buena Vista Hotel in San Jose, Costa Rica, February 1st, 2008. I couldn't resist snapping this photo of one of "our" birds down on its tropical wintering haunts. I am not going to show this blog to Becky's oriole, as it would not be kind. Especially with the upcoming temperatures that he is going to experience.
I hope he does well, and thanks to Becky for bringing this great find to light, and taking such good care of him!


Dawn Fine said...

Oh my...burrr..definitely don't show the below photo to the other birdie...or maybe you should just give the poor thing some directions to a warmer place..

Julie Zickefoose said...

Well, having him return in full splendor is no more than Becky deserves for feeding this gentleman and caring for him so wonderfully. I always kind of despair when I hear about BAOR's or tanagers visiting feeders. I'll ask what they were offering, and it's usually, "Sunflower seed and mixed seed," and I inwardly yell, BUY SOME MEALWORMS! CHOP SOME FRUIT!! TOTE SOME ZICK DOUGH!

Grizz………… said...

Just stumbled onto your blog today…what really caught my eye as I scrolled/read through several entries was the report and pix of the Baltimore Oriole. I had one visit one of my feeders last January—the first I'd ever witnessed during the winter. I was so surprised I wasn't sure I'd actually had an oriole on the feeder, except this was the unit right outside my writing desk window and thus we're talking under a yard from eyes to bird. Pretty hard to mistake from that distance!

Anyway, enjoy the blog a lot. I'll be back.

Jim McCormac said...

Hi Grizzled,

Glad you found my blog, and I am even more glad that you like it!

I'd be curious to hear more of your oriole of last winter - dates and location - if you don't mind. Winter orioles are quite the rarity, and even though it is after the fact, we'd still like to mention the record in the Ohio Cardinal, the state's birding journal.

You can e-mail me at



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