Baltimore Oriole a brilliant weaver

The flash of fire at the top of the elm tree. A clear, flute-like whistle in late spring.
A hanging basket nest.
These are the trademarks of one of our most striking birds—the Baltimore Oriole.
The male bird is absolutely brilliant in jet black and bright orange.
During the courting season, he is likely to sing from the top of the tree. And when he flies into the sunshine, his presence is flashed immediately.
The female is quite dull, mostly yellowish-olive with a suggestion of orange.
The song of the oriole is loud and clear, repeated often. Apparently no two orioles sing in exactly the same way.
They are easy to fool by whistling. Just whistle something remotely similar to the oriole’s song and he soon will come near to where you are to see who the daring intruder is.
Orioles have a number of other sounds, among them an alarm call which sounds like a small buzzer going off.
Perhaps the most distinctive thing about the Baltimore Oriole is its nest. No other bird in Northern Ontario builds a structure anything like this.
It is a hanging basket woven with string, grasses, horse hair, and so on. The female does most of the building.
Careful observation of this nest will show that it is truly woven. The treads and grasses are intertwined very carefully and looped around each other to make a really strong hanging nest.
It has to be strong because it is nearly always out at the end of a small branch, high up in a tall tree. The wind can buffet it about a lot.
The nest takes several days to build, but is very seldom used a second time.
If you want to give the orioles a helping hand during the nesting season, put out some string, cut into lengths of about a foot. They will make use of every one.
They are not with us for a very long period. They usually appear about the middle of May and leave in September. They spend a good deal of their time travelling since most of them winter in South America.
The food of the oriole is almost all of insect origin—caterpillars, flies, grasshoppers, borers, and so on. Tent caterpillars and army worms provide a lavish feast.
They also eat potato beetles. Sometimes they get into fruit and become a pest in the vineyards and cherry orchards of southern Ontario.
In colonial days in America, Lord Baltimore was on a visit to Virginia. He was so impressed by the colours of this bird that he adopted them as his own (orange and black).
The oriole was named “Baltimore” to commemorate this event.
Nowadays, more staid and dull scientists have combined this oriole and a western bird (Bullock’s Oriole) under one name—the Northern Oriole (Icterus galbula).
Whatever its name, our oriole is one of the most brilliant birds in Northern Ontario.

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