The distinctive shape and bright colors of orioles help set them apart from most other species. Orchard Orioles are noticeably smaller than Baltimore Orioles. Male Orchard Orioles are rich chestnut, never bright orange, and female Orchard never show any orange tones. Immature male Orchard Orioles have a solid black throat (unlike the partial hood of Baltimore) and yellowish-green underparts. Bullock’s Oriole occurs mostly west of the Baltimore Oriole's range, but the two species occasionally hybridize in the Great Plains. Male Bullock’s Orioles have orange faces, a black line through the eye, and a larger white patch in the wings. Females and immature males have much grayer underparts than Baltimore Orioles. Some people occasionally mistake American Robins for Baltimore Orioles, but robins are thrushes with shorter bills, rounder heads, solid-brown backs, and a more subdued shade of orange on the breast.
In central North America—including Kansas, Nebraska, Saskatchewan, and Alberta—the Baltimore Oriole’s range overlaps with its close relative the Bullock’s Oriole, and the two species breed with each other. Their hybrid offspring—brighter orange than a typical Bullock’s, but duller than a typical Baltimore—can confuse bird watchers.
Baltimore Orioles seek out ripe fruit. Cut oranges in half and hang them from trees to invite orioles into your yard. Special oriole feeders filled with sugar water supplement the flower nectar that Baltimore Orioles gather. You can even put out small amounts of jelly to attract these nectar-eaters (just don't put out so much that it risks soiling their feathers). Planting bright fruits and nectar-bearing flowers, such as raspberries, crab apples, and trumpet vines, can attract Baltimore Orioles year after year.
Find This Bird
Aim your eyes high when looking for Baltimore Orioles. They’re most often seen perched at the tops of trees or flitting through the upper foliage in search of insects. Listen for their distinctive chatter, which is unlike the call of any other bird where orioles occur. Noisy nestlings may alert you to a nest site high off the ground.