Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring Orioles


Hooded Oriole in Sycamore Canyon 3-23-10

With the arrival of spring migration has begun and we are seeing all sorts of new arrivals.  Some of the brightest birds are the male orioles.  I have seen Scotts and Hooded Orioles so far this week, both in my yard and in the surrounding desert and neighborhoods.


The male Hooded Oriole is distinguished by his bright orange-yellow body, orange hood, black back and face mask with a thin, pointy black beak and white lesser coverts on his wings. 



Orioles are actually members of the blackbird family, called the icterids, and they are insect and nectar feeding birds. for this reason one must be very careful in the use of pesticides when these birds are around. As you can see, Orioles will come to your hummingbird feeders.  There are also special oriole feeders you can buy.  they love fruit and you can attract them by putting out sliced oranges or other fruit.  Some people even put out jar lids filled with grape jelly.



Male Scott’s Oriole 3-23-10

This male Scott’s Oriole showed up the same day as the Hooded Oriole.  the cold and rainy weather drove it to a high energy food source-suet.  However, I have seen this oriole and others drinking nectar from our native flowers as well as the flowering bushes we have all planted in our yards. The day before this picture was taken I saw a Scott’s Oriole feeding from the blossoms in my Cape Honeysuckle bushes.



Notice the bright yellow belly, black head and face and black back of this species. Also note the white wing patches.


Scott’s Oriole

Scott’s Oriole Sightings for Sycamore Canyon
Location: Date:
Vermillion Sunset Dr. 3-16-08
Sycamore Canyon Neighborhood 3-24-10
Sienna Bluffs Trail 3-24-10

 DSC_0088 Hooded Oriole


The female of these oriole species are very similar in coloring and shape. They can be very difficult to tell apart. Add in our third species of oriole, the Bullock’s, and it gets even more complicated.  The bullock’s Oriole is orange and black with large  white patches on its wings.  It has an orange face with a black crown and a black line running through its eye from its beak.  I have not seen one yet this year but I am sure we will be seeing them soon!

Hooded Oriole Sightings Sycamore Canyon
Location: Date:
Sycamore Canyon Wash 4-15-2008
Vermillion Sunset Dr. 4-12-09

Bird sightings tables are generated with information from eBird an online resource administered by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This information is taken form data I have submitted to eBird as a Citizen Scientist since moving here in 2007. Anyone can participate.  Click on the link to learn how.


  1. Those orioles are just the most beautiful birds. So interesting, thanks Kathie.

  2. Lovely images,top notch photography.

  3. Denise, what a wide variety we have here. The Scott's has been hanging around and singing outside my window all weekend. It sounds similar to a meadowlark and is so pretty to hear!

    JR and sue, thank you for your visit and your comment!

  4. Beautiful pictures of one of my favorite species. You have some that I never see. Thanks, have a great Easter.

  5. How beautiful they all are. we used to have Baltimire Orioles visiting, but it has been a couple of years since I have seen any. It is always exciting to see such a beautiful bird in our birdrder area. Thanks for your visit and commewnt on my woos ducks today. I love that duck species! Ann

  6. We have had no luck with orioles except one year. Now it is starlings, grackles and sparrows.

  7. Bill S.,I only see these species during migration. Unfortunately they never hang around my house for long!

    Me ann my camera, you are so welcome. It is nice to see you here!

    Abe, I so wish they would fly back to you and bring some color to your yard. I know that you would get great photos of them!

  8. These are very beautiful pictures. I love the Orioles, but unfortunately I am unable to keep them in my yard, they fly through and then are gone. Thank you for coming by.

  9. ohh! so many great orioles! and great photos, too! that's so cool you've got so many in your yard - lucky!

  10. Great shots Kathie..hey I like those boxes you made..with sightings ..did u make that via live writer?

  11. Margret cloud, how nice to see you again! The orioles do the same thing to me. I have not seen them in a couple of weeks now.

    Johnny nutcase, I am very fortunate but they don't stay around for long!

    Dawn, Yes, I did use Live Writer to make the boxes and I hope to do it again. I wanted to use them on my recent Sycamore Canyon Post but I was not on my home computer so I could not log into Live Writer and regular blogger does not have the capability. I know you can also make them in Microsoft Office but them you have to cut and paste and I don't remember if the formatting transfers.

  12. Fabulous shots. Especially love the first one. My brother is a birdwatcher. A serious birder. Maybe a little too serious. Oops, TMI!
    **kisses** Deb

  13. You do see a great variety of Orioles. Your photos are just awesome. Loved this Oriole post, Kathie.

  14. Geeze kathie-your driving me crazy with all these awesome colorful bird photos-you really see more than your share of great birds-when do I get my turn?!

  15. Trying to identify a bird visiting our Tucson Foothills home this week and discovered it was a hooded Oriole, thanks to the great photos here.
    Doug and Lynne
    July 30, 2011