My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Orchard Oriole, Icterus spurius

Note: this post, while published, is a work in progress, as are all posts in this series, My Photo Life List. My goal is to photograph every species of bird that is seen on a regular basis here in Michigan, working from a list compiled by the Michigan chapter of the Audubon Society. This will be a lifelong project, that I began in January of 2013, and as I shoot better photos of this, or any other species, I will update the post for that species with better photos when I can. While this series is not intended to be a field guide per se, my minimum standard for the photos in this series is that one has to be able to make a positive identification of the species in my photos. The information posted here is from either my observations or the Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia, however, I have personally shot all the photos appearing in this series.

Orchard Oriole, Icterus spurius

The orchard oriole (Icterus spurius) is the smallest North American species of icterid blackbird.

The breeding habitat is semi-open areas with deciduous trees. The orchard oriole breeds in spring across eastern North America from near the Canada–United States border south to central Mexico. A 2009 study also found breeding in the thorn forest of Baja California Sur and the coast of Sinaloa during the summer “monsoon”. This region had previously been thought to be only a migratory stopover (Rohwer, Hobson, and Rohwer, 2009). These birds enjoy living in shaded trees within parks along lakes and streams. The nest is a tightly woven pouch attached to a fork on a horizontal branch. Their nests tend to sit close together.

While in breeding season, they eat insects and spiders. When the season changes, their diet also includes ripe fruit, which quickly passes through their digestive tract. During the winter, their diet consists of fruit, nectar, insects and seeds.

When in flight, orchard orioles generally swoop close to the ground and fly at or below treetop level

During courtship, females display themselves in three ways. The first is by bowing their head and torso toward the male. Seesawing, the second courtship display, involves repetitively alternating lowering and raising the head and tail. The third display is begging, which is fast-paced fluttering of wings halfway extended, followed by a high whistle.

 

On to my photos:

The photos of the adult male were shot in May of 2015 at the Muskegon County wastewater facility. They aren’t very good, but they are enough to make a positive ID of the species. The female and juvenile were shot around home here the past few years. Why I never see an adult male around home when the species is obviously around baffles me.

Adult male Orchard Oriole, Icterus spurius

Adult male Orchard Oriole, Icterus spurius

 

Adult male Orchard Oriole, Icterus spurius

Adult male Orchard Oriole, Icterus spurius

 

Adult male Orchard Oriole, Icterus spurius

Adult male Orchard Oriole, Icterus spurius

 

Juvenile male Orchard Oriole, Icterus spurius

Female Orchard Oriole, Icterus spurius

 

Juvenile male Orchard Oriole, Icterus spurius

Female Orchard Oriole, Icterus spurius

 

Juvenile male Orchard Oriole, Icterus spurius

Female Orchard Oriole, Icterus spurius

 

Female Orchard Oriole, Icterus spurius

Juvenile male Orchard Oriole, Icterus spurius

 

Female Orchard Oriole, Icterus spurius

Juvenile male Orchard Oriole, Icterus spurius

This is number 194 in my photo life list, only 156 to go!

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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13 responses

  1. Interesting that the female seems more colorful than the male, at least to these colorblind eyes.

    April 19, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    • Thank you very much Allen! The females are easier to spot being yellow, whereas the males tend to blend in.

      April 19, 2016 at 11:55 pm

  2. Orchard Orioles are colorful and beautiful birds. Again I have never seen one yet, and your photos are my first introduction to them. I think the male darker colors help it to get lost in the landscape.

    April 19, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    • Thank you very much! I think that you’re correct, and that’s why I see more of the females and juveniles.

      April 19, 2016 at 11:56 pm

  3. Those are great photos, Jerry! These are beautiful birds. I read they are occasionally seen in Oregon.
    http://birdweb.org/birdweb/bird/orchard_oriole

    April 19, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    • Thank you very much Lavinia! I hope that you’re able to see one, and hear their wonderful song.

      April 19, 2016 at 11:57 pm

  4. Beautiful birds of both sexes, thanks for the interesting post.

    April 20, 2016 at 4:30 am

    • Thank you very much Susan!

      April 20, 2016 at 12:46 pm

  5. They are very good looking birds.

    April 20, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    • Thank you very much!

      April 20, 2016 at 11:28 pm

  6. These are such bright and colourful birds. Congratulations on another addition to your list.

    April 20, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    • Thank you very much Clare!

      April 20, 2016 at 11:28 pm

      • 🙂

        April 21, 2016 at 9:36 pm