Natural Highlights: Orchard Oriole


The clear flute-like whistles of the Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius)  can be heard along the Wolf River, the Wolf River Greenway trail, and in many other places in the Mid-South, especially those near water.  The trees lining the lake at the Epping Way section of the Greenway are a great place to see and hear them.  Members of the Icteridae, the blackbird family, both Orchard and Baltimore Orioles nest here, arriving relatively late in the spring and raising one or two broods before heading back to      Mexico and northern South America in mid to late summer, earlier than most other migrants.  Males are easily recognized by their rusty red breast and black wings and head; females are dull yellow with gray backs and white wing bars and can be confused with juvenile males and other species. They are between a robin and a sparrow in size.Like most songbirds, orioles primarily feed on insects, but they also consume nectar from flowers and fruit of many kinds, including the mulberries which ripen in May and June in this area. 

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Posted by Cathy Justis at 9:56 AM