Oriole Migration Underway
to watch for orioles! Bullock's Orioles have been turning up in the Southwest
and Baltimore Orioles have also been reported in some states. Which orioles
are you watching for?
Orioles Still in the Tropics
Even though by late April some Baltimore Orioles return north, many are
still hanging out in their wintering grounds in Central America. Journey
North science writer Laura Erickson once spent the first two weeks of
April in Costa Rica. The first week she spotted dozens of Baltimore Orioles,
and they were about half males and half females. By the second week they
were a little less common, and almost all of them were females. She found
one group of 12, including males and females, perched on wires above a
sugar cane field, many small groups visiting feeders to eat bananas, and
some flocks feeding on insects and fruits in forests and open areas. Baltimore
Orioles seem to be very adaptable in Costa Rica, and can accept a wide
variety of habitats. Do you know the difference between an oriole call
note and song? Do orioles hang out alone or in groups? To learn this and
more about orioles and life on their wintering grounds, be sure to see:
Although Laura witnessed many behaviors, one thing she didn't see was
any Baltimore Orioles migrating. That's because Baltimore Orioles often
take their actual migration flights at nighttime. By day they feed and
hang out in small flocks, sometimes moseying toward the north as they
move from feeder to feeder or tree to tree, but not covering big distances
until night. How do night migrants find their way? They have a few different
systems, but most rely heavily on stars to find their way. Read more here:
Ready for Your Orioles!
settle into your neighborhood, providing quality nesting materials is
a good way to ensure that they'll successfully reproduce—maybe even
in your own backyard! Dog fur is a great natural fiber that is very useful
when orioles nest. Journey North contributor Cathy Gagliardi gives some
more suggestions: "Orange halves will attract them; however, grape
jelly will keep them around. Offer them 6 inch strips of yarn, even human
hair, to use for nesting materials. They also love the "hair"
from milkweed, so save your supply from last fall, when milkweed sheds.
Mealworms are another delight, as orioles need protein too."
ideas of ways you can make your backyard orioles' lives easier, see
Round the Bases
It's April and time for baseball season openers. Have you noticed that
the logo of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team was updated to look more
like the real bird? Did you know that they hand out baseball cards with
orioles on them at their ballpark? They show orioles on their scoreboard
too. The team also promotes International Migratory Bird Day. Go Orioles!
This! Journaling Questions
- Why do
most orioles migrate by night? Think about the advangates and disadvantages
of migrating during each time of day. Make a 4-column chart to organize
your thoughts. When you are done, compare
your thoughts with ours.
- Each spring,
roughly a billion birds migrate northward across the Gulf of Mexico,
en route to breeding habitats from their wintering quarters in the tropics.
Imagine being a bird, flying over hundreds of miles of water without
food or any place to rest. People working on oil platforms on the Gulf
of Mexico don't have to imagine it. They've had the experience. Read
one observer's description. Then
journal about the most surprising thing you learned about the River
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