The shorebirds are beginning to flock together, even as the summer songbirds are still plentiful. With the blue skies and bright sunshine, it was a wonderful day to spend at my favorite national wildlife refuge!
Unlike other Orioles species, with their bright orange coloring, the Orchard Oriole is a study in rust and black. Orchard Orioles have a very short breeding season. They arrive in the Eastern United States in late spring. After raising one brood of eggs, they return as early as July to their wintering grounds in Central America. While in the States, they prefer open woodlands with scattered trees and shrubs, where they forage for insects and flower nectar. This Orchard Oriole was singing from the top of a large shrub in a former farm field filling in with second growth trees.
It’s hard to believe in a way, but this beauty is indeed an Orchard Oriole. The female Orchard Oriole, to be specific. The Orchard Oriole is one of those birds whose plumage varies tremendously between the genders. The male Orchard Oriole looks like a burnished Baltimore Oriole, more rust-colored than orange.
The female looks more like an oversized warbler, olive-greenish and yellow. They forage for insects, picking them from under leaves and along the bark.
As for the juvenile Orchard Orioles, they look like the female, except for a patch of black around the bill and the neck.
All of these Orchard Orioles were busy foraging in the trees at Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge today.