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Orioles brighten summer skies

July 7, 2012
By GARRY BRANDENBURG , Times-Republican

This week's featured critter is the BALTIMORE ORIOLE, a colorful orange and black feathered bird with a body size similar to a robin. It's flame orange color can be seen as it darts about the top branches of trees during its feeding expeditions. This oriole gets its name from its bold plumage, the same colors as were used on the heraldic crest of England's Baltimore family. Well adapted to human settings, this bird prefers open woodlands, forest edges, river banks and small groves of trees. Backyard feeding stations are readily used in addition to natural foods of insects such as beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, moths, flies, spiders, snails and other small invertebrates. They will also feed on tent caterpillars, gypsy moths, fall webworms and the larvae of plant galls. The nest of the female oriole is a small hanging basket of woven grass threads from the tall branches of elm, cottonwood or maple. Most people will see the nest only after the fall leaf drop exposes the nest site. Summer nesting is in all of the midwest and eastern parts of the USA and southern Canada. Winter home is Central America.



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