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Baltimore Orioles Building Nests

6-13-14  b.oriole nestOnce the female Baltimore Oriole has selected her mate, she chooses a nesting site within his territory, often the tip of a slender outer tree branch, as it’s relatively inaccessible to predators. The female usually builds the nest by herself, taking 4 – 15 days to complete it. The first few fibers are wrapped loosely around branches. With apparently random poking, knots and tangles are created in these fibers. The female than adds more fibers, one at a time, to extend, close and line the nest. Somewhat miraculously, after days of laborious work, the nest takes on its gourd-like shape. Initially the weaving of fibers from plants such as grasses, milkweed stems or grapevine bark can be observed (horse hair, twine and synthetic fibers are also used). Towards the end, when the nest lining is added, the bird is hidden inside the nest and all that’s visible is the periodic bulging of the nest where she is applying softer material (often cottonwood or willow seed fluff, milkweed seed plumes or feathers) to cushion her eggs and nestlings.

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10 responses

  1. A terrific sequence and informative post — nicely done Mary.

    June 13, 2014 at 1:18 pm

  2. Susan Holland

    What a great series of photographs! What fun to be able to see the process….thank you!

    June 13, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    • Thank you, Susan, for appreciating the time and effort that went into this post!

      June 14, 2014 at 2:07 am

  3. Fragile-looking, yet strong enough to hold weight and withstand wind. Great photo sequence really shows this amazing process. Thanks, Mary!

    June 14, 2014 at 1:17 am



     wow! That nest looks so cozy and comfortable!


    June 14, 2014 at 12:06 pm

  5. Irma Graf

    Mary, even after all this time – your posts get more and more incredible. Thank you for this wonderful sequence!

    June 14, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    • Thank you so much, Irma. There’s just an endless supply of fascinating things to discover!

      June 14, 2014 at 3:52 pm

  6. Ron

    I have a male Baltimore Oriole who prefers the suet (peanut and nut parts) I use for Woodpeckers over everything else including oranges. They haven’t stayed in the past but he’s been a regular feeder for several days so I imagine he has a female who has chosen him but I haven’t seen her yet. I hope they stay.

    May 18, 2016 at 6:50 pm

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