Bird of the Week, November 8, 2013
Baltimore Oriole

 

Baltimore Oriole by Greg Lavaty

 

Baltimore Orioles take their name from the colorful black and orange heraldic crest of England’s Baltimore family, for which Maryland’s largest city is named. The species is a familiar sight in parks and yards across its breeding range, having adapted well to living in proximity to people.

 

This oriole overwinters largely in the tropics and follows the flowers in flocks of 30 to 40 birds, pursuing nectar—an important winter food.

 

Traditional shade coffee farms in Central and South America are magnets for Baltimore Orioles in the nonbreeding season. These farms produce the highest-quality coffee and also provide important habitat for many migratory birds. (Read more about shade coffee and birds in a blog post by author Scott Weidensaul, “The View from Northern Nicaragua’s Highlands: Saving Birds with Coffee.”)

 

Unlike Audubon’s Oriole and Bahama Oriole, which are declining, the population of Baltimore Orioles is currently stable. However, the felling of forests for sun coffee plantations, along with other types of habitat loss, threatens the species across its winter range.

 

One of the best ways you can help keep the population of Baltimore Orioles stable is to purchase only shade coffee designated Bird Friendly, which ensures that coffee producers adhere to the best practices to conserve birds. Learn more about Bird Friendly coffee from our friends at Birds & Beans.

 

 

 

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