Bird Database

Baltimore Oriole

(Icterus galbula)

State of the Birds
At a Glance





Strongly Decreasing


Habitat loss and fragmentation, Predation, Collisions, Pesticides

Conservation Actions

Maintain a bird-friendly yard

Baltimore Oriole

(Icterus galbula)

The bright black and orange Baltimore Oriole is favorite bird of many backyard birders, and one of the few songbirds adopted by a professional sports team. The name comes not from the city in Maryland, but from the city’s namesake colonial nobility, whose colors were black and orange. In other words, there are several oriole species that could have been so named, but only one in eastern North America where Lord Baltimore established the colony of Maryland.

History aside, Baltimore Orioles are part of the spring wave of colorful migrants that return to New Hampshire each May. Arriving before the leaves are fully out, they are often seen feeding at flowers of trees like cherries and crabapples, where they consume both insects and nectar. At this time of year, they are also attracted to oranges and jelly placed out for them at bird feeders. As the breeding season progresses, they shift to an insectivorous diet, and feed their young exclusively invertebrate prey. In the fall fruit becomes a staple and continues as the core of the diet through the winter. In some parts of their winter range in Central America they can cause damage to local fruit crops.

Oriole nests are amazing feats of avian construction. Built entirely by the female, these hanging pouch-like structures are woven starting from the top, where the initial strands of bark and other fibers serve to anchor the early nest to a horizontal fork. The bird then works her way down, adding strands until the nest is 3-5 inches deep and expanded at the bottom to accommodate the incubating female and her 4-6 eggs. Hard to see among the leaves during the summer, these nests are quite conspicuous in winter, leading many to realize they had nesting orioles in their neighborhood without even realizing it.

Seasonal Abundance

Relative abundance based on eBird data. Numbers indicate likelihood of finding this species in suitable habitat at a given time of year, not actual numbers encountered.

Baltimore Oriole
Range Map

Information for the species profiles on this website was compiled from a combination of the sources listed below.

  • The Birds of New Hampshire. By Allan R. Keith and Robert B. Fox. 2013. Memoirs of the Nuttall Ornithological club No. 19.

  • Atlas of the Breeding Birds of New Hampshire. Carol R. Foss, ed. 1994. Arcadia Publishing Company and Audubon Society of New Hampshire

  • Birds of the World. Various authors and dates. Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

  • Data from the Breeding Bird Survey

  • Data from the Christmas Bird Count