A Baltimore Oriole perched on a shepherds hook.

Baltimore Oriole Bird Facts (with Photos, ID & Info)

The Baltimore Oriole is a common small interim bird widely distributed across eastern North America as a migratory breeding bird, with its native range in the Eastern United States and Canada.  

It winters primarily in Central America, but occasionally ventures into the southern United States or northern Mexico. The Baltimore Oriole is noted for being on the larger side of all orioles and usually does not produce more than one brood per year.

They are commonly found to inhabit many types of woodland habitats from boreal forests to the subtropical south and southwest where they often feed on nectar from flowers or on tree sap.  

Baltimore Oriole Bird Facts

Size and Weight

The Baltimore oriole is a medium-sized songbird, measuring 17–22 cm (6.7–8.7 in) in length and spanning 23–32 cm (9.1–12.6 in) across the wings, with an average weight of 34 g (1.20 oz).


The Baltimore Oriole has a black head, back, and wings, with white wing bars, and a flaming orange-yellow throat, chest, and belly with slender pointy beaks. The male bird is larger and bulkier than the female.


Baltimore Orioles have been known for their beautiful songs. Their song consists of four parts: a trill, two sets of chirps, and an ending whistle. It can usually be heard singing in winter between November and February.

Range and Habitat

The Baltimore Orioles are found in Eastern North America, Asia and Africa, and it also makes its wintering home in the Northern part of Mexico.  The Baltimore Oriole lives mostly in deciduous forests with tall trees, dense undergrowth, thickets of vines, thorny bushes, and is a common sight in many suburban neighborhoods.

They like to feed in small open areas and forage in gardens and meadows, which makes them a welcomed guest among backyard gardeners everywhere. At night the Baltimore Oriole likes to spend most of its time flying high in the trees.

Baltimore Oriole at feeder
Image by jsaurer from Pixabay

Food Sources

This native North American species has been known to eat fruit, insects, carrion, and seeds in the wild. The most popular foods include flies, bees, wasps, beetles, caterpillars, spiders and other flying insects, but it also eats small invertebrates such as snails or slugs. 


The Baltimore oriole is an iconic symbol of the Eastern seaboard. The once-ubiquitous species has seen a dramatic decline in population, since 1990.

Habitat loss and competition with other bird species are just some of the factors that have contributed to this drastic drop in numbers. The Baltimore oriole now faces new threats from climate change and a changing agricultural landscape. 

Lifespan and Nesting

The Baltimore Oriole has a fairly short lifespan for a bird of its size. These birds can live to be around 11 years of age.  At maturity, the young leave the nest and take up permanent residence in the branches and trees of their new environment.

Baltimore Orioles will often find a place to nest near water and other natural features such as trees or shrubs. The nesting process starts with an individual male choosing a site for a nest and gathering materials for it.

Once he has completed this task, he will then court females by singing songs to them from high perches in order to attract mates. After mating occurs, eggs are laid within the nest by the female.

Males then take over all the nesting duties and will incubate eggs for 12-14 days before they hatch. He does not provide any care to the young after they have hatched, but he will keep an eye on them until their flight feathers grow in about four weeks later.

The nest is also reused year after year which provides new opportunities for mates and potential reproductions as well as growth in numbers each successive generation with only a limited number of birds necessary to ensure survival

Migration Periods

Baltimore Oriole migratory path and length is one of the most studied bird migration patterns in North America. Orioles spend their winters in Central America, mainly Mexico. They start to migrate back north starting in late February, following a southerly route through Texas and into Florida.

They will then fly up the East Coast as far as New England before heading back south again for wintering grounds on tropical islands such as Jamaica or Cuba. The birds usually make this journey alone.

Some believe that migratory birds can migrate as far as 3000 miles each year! The longest migrations for a Baltimore Oriole was recorded at 910 miles over 7 days!

Baltimore Oriole
Image by Jean DiDomenico from Pixabay

Attracting Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore Orioles are known to be one of the best bird species for attracting into your yard. Their songs are pleasant to the ear and their presence can be quite beneficial for your garden.

However, you need to know how to attract them in the first place.

An excellent way to attract them to your yard is by placing pieces of oranges onto an oriole bird feeder, such as this Double-Cup Jelly Oriole Feeder with Pegs for Orange Halves. These bird feeders are made purposely for feeding this bird. You can find them on Amazon.

Establish A Roosting Area

The first thing that you need to do when you are trying to attract Baltimore Orioles into your yard is to establish a roosting area. One great tip when trying to attract Baltimore Orioles, is to your yard is to provide plenty of different types of food in the roosting area.

You will find that your Baltimore oriole will spend much of their time foraging for food from above your head, so this can be a great place to keep some seeds, pellets, and small mealworms.

Provide Water

One final tip when trying to attract the Baltimore Orioles to your yard is to provide a source of water for the birds. One good way is to provide them with a birdbath, because they love water.

It is very easy to attract the Baltimore Orioles to your yard, and they can make your home a lot of fun. So if you want to have some wonderful bird watching in your garden then try some of these tips below

Tips to Attract Baltimore Orioles

Tip #1

Baltimore Orioles are one of the most iconic birds in North America. They have a large and interesting population that thrives in suburban areas and even cities.

If you want to attract them to your home or garden, there are many ways to do so! First, consider installing a suet feeder, I use this Suet Buffet Bird Feeder with Metal Roof used with this orange suet. This combination always works for me. The next step is to add oranges for the fussy eater; they love them! 

For a good quality bird feeder to attract Orioles with great results, I would recommend this Poly-Wood Hanging Oriole Jelly Feeder, it’s available on Amazon.

Tip #2

In addition to providing bird feeders, you also want to provide them with perches and nest boxes. If you are able to provide the birds with these things they will enjoy using them throughout the day and your yard will be a lot more interesting to them.

Tip #3

In order to attract Baltimore Orioles to your yard, you will need to provide your yard with different types of trees and shrubs. You need trees that provide shelter for the birds to rest and roost at night, and trees that provide perches where the birds can hide and roost during the day.

The types of plants they enjoy include: dogwood tree, apple tree, holly, lilac, oak, elderberry and cedar, crab apple tree, cherry tree, pawpaw tree, redbud tree, honeysuckle vines, forsythia bushes blueberry shrubs, and viburnum. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Baltimore Orioles aggressive birds?

Baltimore Orioles will only become defensive if threatened or their nest is in danger. They make noise when defending themselves by hissing and making a rattling sound with their wings, which can scare off predators. When the Baltimore Oriole sees a potential threat nearby, it will fly into trees and shrubs as warning before attacking aggressively if the intruder does not leave its territory quickly enough.

Do Baltimore Orioles kill Hummingbirds?

It is not well known that birds of prey such as hawks and owls are often the culprits behind these mysterious deaths, but it has been shown that this is not always the case. The Baltimore Oriole does indeed sometimes eat small animals like hummingbirds.

Will Baltimore Orioles eat bananas?

Baltimore Orioles love to eat various types of fruit such as bananas, peaches, apples, plums, cherries, mulberries, and berries. 

What kind of trees do Orioles nest in?

Orioles prefer deciduous trees with holes in them such as oak, elm, and maple trees for nesting their eggs because they provide protection from predators and help keep the nest dry during rainstorms.

Are Baltimore Orioles rare?

Baltimore Orioles are not rare at all. They are over 12 million individuals found in the Northeastern part of North America and across the entire Eastern United States, as well as Canada. The birds live year-round near water and forests, which is why they can be seen in many areas around the country.